Gender-Affirming Care: The Challenges and Ethics of Randomized Controlled Trials

September 15, 2023

To offer gender-affirming care, such as hormone treatments, clinicians often need to manipulate medical coding systems and justify these treatments with randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The gold standard of medical research, RCTs involve assigning participants randomly to either receive a treatment or be part of a control group. However, critics argue that they are impractical and nearly impossible to perform when ethically analyzing the benefits of gender-affirming care. In the past, researchers have conducted some Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) on this type of care, but they often encounter numerous practical and ethical limitations. Existing evidence mainly comprises observational studies, which some say are an insufficient basis for the treatments, and some critics believe no amount of research will suffice to prove the efficacy of gender-affirming care. Some argue for more focus on personalizing the care to individual patients rather than defending the essential value of the treatments themselves in an adverse political environment.

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[Source: STAT, September 15th, 2023]

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