human growth hormone Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the use of human growth hormone to enhance the height and weight of normal but undersized (i.e., below average in height and...

human growth hormone

Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the use of human growth hormone to enhance the height and weight of normal but undersized (i.e., below average in height and weight for their age) children or adolescents, including others interested in enhancing their physical appearance? Explain your viewpoint.

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would support it if they had a medical condition which required the treatment.  For instance, some conditions cause a lack of HGH in the body and this can have a serious impact on a person's quality of life.  HGH does more in the body than just allow a person to be taller.  If the patient's only concern was appearance, I would not support treatment with HGH.  I do not think many doctors would treat a patient with HGH unless it was necessary for their medical condition.  Modern medicine no longer finds it unhealthy to be a certain height.  Doctors also understand the side effects of HGH and a good doctor will not prescribe such treatments injudiciously.

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

HGH is known to have many possible negative side effects, including joint swelling, pain, carpal tunnel, and an increased risk of diabetes. I myself would not recommend it for children; I don't think the risk is worth an extra two inches of height, and you can always build muscle with diet and exercise. Now, if you have a deficiency, that's a different issue; the parents and doctors should do a risk assessment to determine if HGH is safe. Each case should be evaluated on an individual basis, and you should never take something because you read someone's opinion on the Internet.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What a difficult question to ask. In order for it to be ethical, in my opinion, there has to be a consistent principle in place. My principle would be: human growth hormones are allowed only to make up deficiencies and not for enhancement. So, if a person was sick and needed it, it would be fine. However, if a person wanted it to be better in sports, I would not allow it. This principle seems to work well with medicine in general. To be sure, it is not perfect, but it should get the discussion going.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would personally be very wary of supporting use of human growth hormone in such cases. From what I have read, HGH can have undesirable side-effects, possibly including stimulation of the growth of cancer cells. From what I have read, unfortunate side-effects may be especially likely in children and adolescents. Of course, children, in particular, cannot make truly informed consent, and for that reason alone I would be wary of giving them any substance that might do far more harm than good.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the answer to this question will depend a lot on the various side effects and long term impact on the body's health of using HGH. We have to ask ourselves a series of very pertinent questions, such as what is the gain that is being sought and will it demonstrably change the patient's life for the better. Personally my own inclination is to be extremely wary of any substance that interferes in the natural chemistry of the body.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since many a bodybuilder has used HGH, and this hormone has been taken for long periods, there should be some studies that you can access which will assist in this debate.  Whether the human growth hormone can cause cancer is a question that definitely needs researching.  Certainly, other hormones have produced negative side effects, so there is most likely a need for caution in the use of HGH.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would support the use of HGH whenever it is deemed necessary to get a child up into the "normal" range for their age.  I would never support it for use in simply enhancing one's appearance or in getting bigger for sports or other reasons like that.  I would argue that messing with your body's chemistry simply for the sake of something cosmetic is unwise.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not being a doctor, I guess I don't know when, if ever, it is appropriate to use Human Growth Hormone, though I think the negative connotations HGH has are due largely to people who have misused it for athletic enhancement purposes.  It may well have legitimate uses under doctor supervision and with full knowledge of the side effects and risks.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I worry about any medications/drugs/treatments which one is given to change their growth (to make up deficiencies). I would be very wary of giving it to a child based upon the growth spans of children being so different. I would consider HGH treatment for young adults who can make the decision for themselves.

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