Hormone replacement therapy: informed consent without assessment?

Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (12):1-2 (2019)
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Florence Ashley has argued that requiring patients with gender dysphoria to undergo an assessment and referral from a mental health professional before undergoing hormone replacement therapy is unethical and may represent an unconscious hostility towards transgender people. We respond, first, by showing that Ashley has conflated the self-reporting of symptoms with self-diagnosis, and that this is not consistent with the standard model of informed consent to medical treatment. Second, we note that the model of informed consent involved in cosmetic surgery resembles the model Ashley defends, and that psychological assessment and referral is recognised as an important aspect of such a model. Third, we suggest that the increased prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in the transgender population arguably supports the requirement of assessment and referral from a mental health professional prior to undergoing HRT.

Author Profiles

Bruce P. Blackshaw
University of Birmingham
Daniel Rodger
London South Bank University


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