Parents say growth hormone increases children’s chances of success


March 13, 2023 | 8:07 p.m

There’s no expense Robert, a Manhattan father, will spare when it comes to helping his son succeed academically and socially — whether it’s getting orchestra seats on a Broadway show to keep interest to inspire improvisation, or shell out taekwondo lessons to hone martial arts skills, or promote honorary status with the reward of a caviar dinner.

When he found out in 2021 that his son – then 4ft, 5 inches tall and 12 years old – ranked in the first percentile on the growth chart, he was keen to improve the child’s circumstances.

Robert, who asked to use a pseudonym for privacy reasons, and his wife took their son to a pediatric endocrinologist.

Various tests revealed that the boy’s short stature was not due to any health concerns. (Being in the first percentile does not mean a child has a growth or weight problem.)

In 2021, when Manhattan’s father Robert found out his then 12-year-old son was in the first percentile on the growth chart, he consulted a pediatric endocrinologist for human growth hormone.
Getty Images/Tetraimages RF

After much deliberation, Robert and his wife decided to give their son human growth hormone at a cost of approximately $3,000 before paying their insurance deductible.

“We decided to use him because of the social issues,” said Robert. “We wanted to help him grow and felt the reward was worth the risk.”

Well-heeled parents, eager to give their children every advantage, are demanding the prescription of human growth hormone for their children, a trend one pediatrician dubbed “cosmetic endocrinology.” Some mothers and fathers turn to injections for medical reasons, even though the majority of children who are considered small for their age do not have a disease that hampers growth.

Many parents just want to prevent bullying or start a sports or modeling career.

Well-heeled parents who want to give their children every advantage demand human growth hormone prescriptions.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“All the rich kids are on them,” one mother, who wished to remain anonymous as a reminder, told The Post.

“There are some parents who force them on their kids… A lot of parents are like, ‘Oh, he only gets to be 5 feet 7 inches, that’s bad!'”

dr Eric Ascher, a primary care physician at Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side, said there are myriad reasons parents give their children hormone shots, but “the desire to look is more often what we address than health.”

Endocrinologists usually do a bone x-ray to see if a patient’s bone age matches their actual age.
Getty Images

“The assumption is, ‘If I put growth hormone on my kid, they can be the soccer star or have more muscle to be more attractive.'”

Ascher noted that the practice has become more common since 2003, when the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of human growth hormone to treat children with short stature of unknown cause. It is also reportedly popular in China.

But he warns that this procedure also has disadvantages.

“It gives the child a negative social message at a young age,” Ascher said, adding that side effects can include an increased risk of heart problems down the line.

While some parents resort to human growth hormone for their children for medical reasons, most children who are considered small-for-their-age don’t have a disease that hampers growth, doctors say.
Getty Images

But Robert regrets nothing.

His son has grown up to 4 feet, 8 inches in 14 months and appears to be more confident.

“He’s grown very well and probably from this medicine,” said Robert.

A housewife in her 40s who lives in a chic suburb 30 minutes north of Manhattan is hoping for similar results for her 10-year-old son.

Kids at school tease him and call him “Tiny Tim,” so she recently started him on growth hormone after X-rays of his hands and wrists signaled GH deficiency.

“He said, ‘Mom, this is torture,'” she said. “I said to my son, ‘Feel lucky mommy can give you this. Daddy and I won’t let you suffer.’”

She added: “Right now it looks like he’ll be 5’4 by the time he’s done growing, but if I can help my kid not be 5’4 then I will.”

Load More…

Copy the URL to share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *