Endocrinologist Dr. Maria New is peddling the steroid dexamethasone to pregnant women as a means of keeping the genitalia of female babies from looking male. Apparently New is also experimenting with the drug’s “potential to prevent girls from developing same-sex attractions; ‘abnormal’ lack of interest in dolls, babies, and traditional mommy-ing; and ‘masculine’ career interests.” Damn, that’s a lot of pressure to put on one little pill … and a lot of idiocy in the research design behind it.
Prenatal “dex” is used by Dr. New to prevent the development of androgynous or masculine-looking genitalia in girls with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), which is caused by an overproduction of androgens. This is an already controversial practice and has raised ethics questions: as Time magazine discusses, dex carries significant unknown dangers and doesn’t address the underlying disorder, which can pose serious health problems in both boys and girls.
Yet Dr. New, instead of dialing back and worrying about the potential harm that she is doing, sees an opportunity to take that research further and find a way to make sure we only reproduce straight stay-at-home moms. She believes her research demonstrates a connection between excess production of androgens and girls who are queer or exhibit “masculine behavior” in “childhood play, peer association, career and leisure time preferences.” So Dr. Maria New is essentially saying that things like, oh I don’t know, wanting to be a scientist, are “abnormalities.”
Wow. I cannot believe that this is legal. So if someone’s daughter is into playing trucks, prefers to play with boys over girls, and wants to be a trash collector, we should start laying on the dex? Because, well, screwing around with physiological functions like androgen production to potentially change the entire make-up of a child makes so much sense.