Ethics

Parents use hormones, hysterectomy to artificially stunt growth of disabled daughter

Charley Hooper (right) and her brother Zak. (Facebook/Jenn Hooper)

The parents of a severely disabled 10-year-old New Zealand girl have received permission from their local health board to administer hormone treatments that will stop her from growing and going through puberty, a treatment they say will allow them to give her a better life. Jenn and Mark Hooper explained to the Associated Press that at first their request for “attenuated growth” treatment for their daughter Charley was denied by the local health ethics board, but once they found a doctor in South Korea willing to prescribe the treatment they received approval to administer it while at home.

Charley, who is just over 4-feet tall and weighs 53 pounds, cannot “speak, walk or see anything beyond light and dark,” according to AP, and needs assistance supporting her head and controlling her limbs. When she was 7, the Hoopers decided to have Charley’s uterus removed to prevent her from going through puberty.  “We haven’t stopped her doing anything. Growing would have stopped her doing things,” Jenn Hooper said. “We didn’t take away any choices that weren’t already taken from her.”

The Hoopers said that Charley has responded to the treatment well: her seizures have stopped and her limbs have relaxed. The practice of hormone-induced growth attenuation is growing in popularity, according to the report, although it remains controversial. “Would you ever want this kind of treatment done to you without your consent or knowledge? And if the answer is no, then why would one want to do that to someone else?” Margaret Nygren, CEO of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, told the AP.

Read the full story at the Associated Press.

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