Research on gender dysphoria

The Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria at the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam offers a complete package of multidisciplinary care for gender dysphoric people of all ages.

More than 5,000 clients have been treated in this center and every year approximately 400 adults and 200 adolescents are admitted for treatment. Internationally, the center is renowned for its comprehensive care on gender dysphoria. The treatment is organized in a health care regime that takes about four years.

Research is conducted to better understand the condition and development of gender dysphoria from childhood to adulthood, the effects of treatment and to develop and improve the quality of care for individuals of all ages with gender dysphoria.

Research data is collected during diagnostic and therapeutic phases that clients go through:

  • at entrance in the clinic;
  • during the diagnostic procedure;
  • at diagnosis;
  • before the start of cross-sex hormone treatment;
  • at three, six and nine months of cross-sex hormones;
  • before gender-confirming surgical interventions;
  • one year after surgery;
  • and the longer-term outlook.

Research questions are many and varied, yet revolve around key themes including Fundamental StudiesEtiology, and Development and Quality of Care:

  1. Factors that predict treatment outcome in terms of satisfaction, quality of life, psychological and sexual functioning
  2. Short and long-term effects of hormone treatment on metabolic parameters, bone densitometry, development of secondary gender characteristics, physical well-being, side-effects and rare complications such as thrombo-embolic events and hypertension
  3. Comparison of surgical techniques with adolescents who, due to puberty suppression, have less well-developed secondary sex characteristics, function and aesthetics.
  4. Psychosexual outcome of children with gender dysphoria, factors that predict persistence or desistence, effects of early social transitioning, effects of parenting styles and personality characteristics.

Research is organized in a multidisciplinary Gender Dysphoria Research Group that works together in a European network for research into gender incongruence with hospitals and institutes in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Serbia and the United Kingdom. In North America, the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam has established partnerships with institutions in Chicago, Minneapolis and Toronto.

Visit the website of the EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Studies for more information and an overview of our current reserach.