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The use of GnRH analogues in gender transition adolescents

A 2020/2021 Summer Studentship research project

Student: Kaden Russell
Supervisors: Dr Sue Bagshaw, Dr Janet Spittlehouse
Sponsor: University of Otago, Division of Health Science


Gonadotropin Releasing Hormones (GnRH) analogues, sometimes known as ‘puberty blockers’ are used by some transgender adolescents to delay the onset of puberty and prevent development of undesired secondary sex characteristics. Even though the effects are reversible and there is some evidence that they can improve mental health for transgender youth (approximately 1.2% of adolescents in NZ), their use is controversial and there is a paucity of research on this topic in NZ.

This study aims to:

  • Review the literature of GnRH analogues in those under 20 years of age
  • Develop a tool of enquiry for an audit of notes at a Christchurch youth health clinic which will assess the use and impact of GnRH analogues in transgender youth, who have attended in the last five years


  • Provide valuable information on the number of transgender youth accessing GnRH analogues, at the youth health clinic
  • Assess the physical, mental and psychosocial outcomes of the use of GnRH analogues in transgender youth


  • Literature review
  • Construction of a questionnaire of inquiry to use when reviewing notes to gather data about the use of GnRH analogues

Student researcher’s component of the study

  • Conduct, write up and publish a literature review of the use of analogues in young people under 20 years old
  • Assist with developing a tool of enquiry for the purpose of an audit of patient notes to assess the outcomes of gender diverse young people who use GnRH analogues
  • Assist with the study ethics application

How to apply