Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Reader 1

Brian Duistermars

Reader 2

Nancy Williams


The onset of puberty initiates a period of rapid growth, the development of secondary sex characteristics and the achievement of fertility. For children with gender dysphoria (GD), puberty can be an extremely difficult period where they identify less and less with the sexual development of their body. The most common treatment for GD is puberty blockers, which can be started once puberty begins around 11 years old and have shown to reduce the risk of suicide and increase mental health in transgender and nonbinary youths (TGNB).

Puberty blockers suppress the body’s production of GnRH, delaying puberty until the individual can make the decision to progress through cisgender puberty or starts gender affirming hormone therapy (GAHT). This allows pubescent children questioning their gender to have more time to ensure that gender affirming hormones are right for them. The earliest GAHT can begin is 16-17 years old if they have parental consent and have already been on puberty blockers for one year.

While the research on the long-term impact of puberty blockers in TGNB children is lacking, the use of puberty blockers for cisgender children experiencing early puberty has been researched for decades. Using this research, we can better explore the impact puberty blockers have on the body in general.