Growth hormone (GH) is uncontroversial when it is used to treat
children with growth hormone deficiency. Other indications for the
use of GH have been much more controversial. Debates have focused
primarily on questions of whether short stature,
in and of itself, can be considered a disease or a disability or
whether, by contrast, it should be considered a normal variant.
Those who hold to the latter view generally think that short
stature should not be treated. "If it ain't broke," they say,
"Don't fix it."
Short stature is associated with a number of emotional problems
and can limit life opportunities. By itself, it is not associated
with health problems.
The debate about the appropriate use of GH touches on the larger
debate about the differences between bona fide medical
and pharmacologic or surgical enhancement.
We present a number of recent articles about GH, a book and a
President's Council on Bioethics Report on enhancement, and a
PowerPoint presentation about GH.