• Protecting children is important, but is this trial the right course of action? (AAP)Source: AAP
A Swedish research team hopes to conduct a drug trial for 60 volunteers who are willing to suffer the side-effects of chemical castration.
Shami Sivasubramanian

8 Apr 2016 - 2:54 PM  UPDATED 8 Apr 2016 - 2:54 PM

Several non-offending paedophiles have agreed to a chemical castration drug trial proposed by Sweden's Karolinska Institute as a way to combat their paedophilic urges.

Below is a video by the institute explaining their plans for the drug trial aimed to enrol 60 people with paedophilia.

Chemical castration, which uses hormone therapy to block brain signals from stimulating the testicles which in turn produce testosterone, the main culprit behind these sexual urges, is a controversial procedure. The process is not a new one and can cause serious damage to men, raising issues of the medical ethics surrounding the Karolinska Institute's trial.

Unlike surgical castration which physically removes the testes, chemical castration keeps the sex organs intact whilst halting testosterone production. The procedure is not considered a form of sterilisation.

Murky medical ethics

The ethical objections with chemical castration lie with both the psychological control the drug imposes upon a patient, as well as the side-effects men face - these are similar to female hormone therapy.

“This issue is hard to deal with but we must, because it affects all of us. Child sexual abuse causes a lot of suffering for the victims and their relatives. It also costs society enormous amounts of money,” Karolinska Institue researcher Christoffer Rahm told The Guardian.

The trial aims to re-purpose an existing drug, degarelix, that has been used to treat prostate cancer.

According to Rahm, many people who are diagnosed with paedophilic disorders do seek help to mitigate their urges. He says it is important to note not all paedophiles commit sexually abusive crimes against children, and many go to great lengths to prevent acting out.

Some of the volunteers who have agreed to the Swedish drug trial have explored other forms of treatment in the past.

Crowd-funding science

The Karolinska Institute intends for the drug trial to be conducted as a randomised double-blind study. 30 men will be administered degarelix via injection, and the other 30 will receive placebos.

However, the institute's trial hangs in the balance, financially speaking. In order to fund their drug trial, the Swedish team have turned to a UK crowd sourcing site for scientific research, Walacea.

So far the team has raised £1,026.00 (about $AUD1900). Their goal is to raise £38,000 (about $AUD70,900) to conduct the research.

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