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Odd Side Effects: Reduces Homosexuality

A particular kind of hormone treatment therapy to treat a rare birth defect is getting unwanted attention for one of its possible side effects — reducing the likelihood that the baby will be homosexual. The treatment is used to prevent genital abnormalities in the baby.

Normally, of course, such treatment would be unremarkable and nobody would much care. But some gay and lesbian groups seem to be outraged by this treatment, and want to turn a medical decision and medical issue into a political one.

Should such medical therapies be regulated by the government? Or should they be left to the judgment of the patient and the doctor?

A hormonal treatment to prevent ambiguous genitalia can now be offered to women who may be carrying such infants. It’s not without health risks, but to its critics those are of small consequence compared with this notable side effect: The treatment might reduce the likelihood that a female with the condition will be homosexual. Further, it seems to increase the chances that she will have what are considered more feminine behavioral traits. […]

The treatment is a step toward “engineering in the womb for sexual orientation,” said Alice Dreger, a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University and an outspoken opponent of the treatment.

To me, like any medical decision involving a woman’s body and what they do with it, this seems like something best left to the woman and her doctor. Anyone who claims this is some sort of societal step toward eradication of a sexual orientation seems to be suggesting that the state — the government — step in and interfere with medical decisions. This seems no different than people who want to legislate abortion decisions — decisions that are again best left to the individual and the individual’s doctor.

The “slippery slope” everyone always seems to talk about or suggest when it comes to these kinds of things simply hasn’t materialized for any of these kinds of medical procedures. Abortion foes in the 1970s claimed it would lead to abortion being used as birth control; it hasn’t, except in some extremely tiny percentage of women. It’s an argument simply not supported by the data.

I find it fascinating that a treatment could have this affect on the baby. But perhaps not surprising, given how susceptible babies are to biochemical influences at such an early stage of development.

Read the full news article: Medical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality

Odd Side Effects: Reduces Homosexuality

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Odd Side Effects: Reduces Homosexuality. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 16 Aug 2010)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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