Almost 10,000 Girls, Some As Young as Ten, Given Contraceptive Implant Putting Children At Risk of Horrendous Abuse
Primary school age children among thousands of minors have been given an contraceptive implant under the skin of their arms to release the hormone progesterone to prevent pregnancy.
Girls as young as 10 as well as more than 3,000 14-year-olds and at least 6,300 girls aged 15 have been given the contraceptive implant, potentially exposing them to ‘horrendous abuse’.
The nexplanon implant is said to cause headaches; vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina); weight gain; acne; breast pain; viral infection such as sore throats or flu-like symptoms; stomach pain; painful periods; mood swings and depression.
East Lancashire NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, in Liverpool, each gave the implant to a 10-year-old during the last five years.
Meanwhile South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, based in Torbay, gave the contraceptive device to a 10 or 11-year-old, but would not specify which.
During the last five years, at least 53 12-year-olds were given the implant, as well as a minimum of 281 13-year-olds.
More than 3,000 14-year-olds and at least 6,300 girls aged 15 were also given the device, which releases the hormone progesterone to prevent pregnancy, inserted under the skin in their arms.
A total of 61 NHS Trusts across England admitted they had fitted the implants in minors after a series of Freedom of Information Act requests by MailOnline.
Ethically, the obligation to act in a child's best interests entails protecting children from both the potential risks of pharmaceutical research and the harms produced by the use of inadequately tested drugs, as well as respecting their autonomy. To satisfy these requirements drug trials should not involve children since most are not scientifically and socially valid, adequately powered, or have a favourable risk-benefit ratio. They are also not subject to independent ethical review and informed consent, or conducted to an appropriate standard.
Inevitably, pharmaceutical studies carry risks of physical and psychological harm. Acceptance of some risk is always necessary for therapeutic advances to occur, and for this reason their application among children is not acceptable by any standard.
Releasing poorly tested drugs, or drugs with "safety data" based on manipulated or fabricated studies is bad enough. But despite The Nuremberg Code--developed in the aftermath of the medical atrocities that occurred during World War II--drug trials sorely lacking in ethics are still conducted all over the world, and usually involve the most defenseless of all: children.
Popular Implants Go Missing Inside The Body
A number of worried women have revealed that doctors have been unable to locate their implants - raising fears they may never be able to conceive.
Licensed in 1999, another implant called Implanon has become a --popular form of --contraception. The device, which costs around $400, is a flexible rod the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It gradually releases the hormone progesterone, which stops the ovaries from releasing eggs and makes the womb less receptive to fertilized eggs.
But investigations showed in some cases the implant was not released from the pre-loaded applicator and never inserted into the arm of the patient. In other women it was delivered too deep to work properly.
Nexplanon Implants Never Before Tested On Children
Despite the Nexplanon implants never being tested on children, there is a strong possibility that hundreds of minors given the contraceptives had them fitted without the knowledge of their parents.
Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, said: ‘Fitting young girls with contraceptive implants is quite simply indefensible. It is giving them the green light to engage in illegal sexual activity and robbing them of the protection that the age of consent law is intended to give.
‘This casual and relaxed attitude towards underage sex is exposing young people to the most horrendous abuse.
‘The fact that the safety of these implants has not been established for girls under the age of 18 in itself means that health professionals are taking a massive risk with the immediate and long-term health of these girls.
‘It is deeply disturbing that parents are frequently left completely in the dark and know nothing about the high-stakes gamble that is being taken on the physical and emotional well-being of their daughters.
‘There needs to be an urgent review of the policies of NHS Trusts in relation to underage sex and the provision of contraception to children.’
Nexplanon manufacturers MSD said the contraceptive’s ‘efficacy’ had only been established in women aged between 18 and 40.
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘It is extremely rare that doctors prescribe contraceptives to under-13s, and while we would not comment on individual cases, the doctor is likely to be acting on serious concerns about exploitation or abuse.
‘Guidance from the GMC states that doctors must as a matter of routine share information about sexual activity involving children under 13 with police or social services.’
A spokesperson for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: ‘Only under extremely rare circumstances would a patient under the age of 13 ever receive a contraceptive implant.
‘This is never taken lightly and would be a decision made between a healthcare professional and the parent or guardian as a result of health problems or in order to safeguard the child.’
Vanessa Hollings, from the family care division at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘We cannot comment on specific cases due to patient confidentiality but any contraceptive implants are fitted in compliance with national guidance on consent, competence and safeguarding.’
'Implants would only be used where it is in the girl’s best interests and where consent is given by the parents or guardians.'
"Contraceptive implants for girls under the age of consent are not issued lightly. Serious consideration is given to each individual situation including liaising with the patient themselves, the Safeguarding Team and with the patient’s parents or guardians. Implants would only be used where it is in the girl’s best interests and where consent is given by the parents or guardians."
Studies of Nexplanon Health Risks
Recently, a study from Denmark was published in the British Medical Journal, which found increased risks of blood clots for women who use nearly all types of non-oral hormonal contraceptives, including contraceptive implants such as Nexplanon. The researchers found a 40% increased risk of blood clots.
The researchers analyzed the risk of blood clots and other thrombolic events in Danish women between the ages of 15-49, from 2001 to 2010. The women were not pregnant and had no history of blood clots or cancer. The researchers found that the only non-oral hormonal contraceptive that was not associated with an increased risk of blood clots was the IUD (uterine implant). Subcutaneous implants were associated with a 40% increased risk, skin patches were associated with a 7.9-fold increased risk of blood clots, and vaginal ring devices were associated with a 6.5-fold increased risk.