Out of bounds? A critique of the new policies on hyperandrogenism in elite female athletes.
ABSTRACT In May 2011, more than a decade after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) abandoned sex testing, they devised new policies in response to the IAAF's treatment of Caster Semenya, the South African runner whose sex was challenged because of her spectacular win and powerful physique that fueled an international frenzy questioning her sex and legitimacy to compete as female. These policies claim that atypically high levels of endogenous testosterone in women (caused by various medical conditions) create an unfair advantage and must be regulated. Against the backdrop of Semenya's case and the scientific and historical complexity of "gender verification" in elite sports, we question the new policies on three grounds: (1) the underlying scientific assumptions; (2) the policymaking process; and (3) the potential to achieve fairness for female athletes. We find the policies in each of these domains significantly flawed and therefore argue they should be withdrawn.
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ABSTRACT: Women athletes from intercollegiate soccer, volleyball, and softball teams, and women skaters from a team competing in an amateur roller derby league, contributed saliva samples before warm-up and immediately after the completion of one or more sanctioned competitions. Women using oral contraceptives (OCs, n=29) had a significantly lower mean level of saliva testosterone (T) than non-users (n=51). Thus, OCs contribute predictable variation to individual differences in saliva T, and OC use is likely to contribute to individual differences in measures of psychological processes and/or behavior which are causally related to individual differences in circulating testosterone. Most of the women (n=68) played during one or more of the competitions for which they contributed saliva samples. Whether for soccer, volleyball, softball, or roller derby, competition was associated with a robust increase in saliva T. Although OC users had significantly lower saliva T levels than non-users before and after-competition, both users and non-users showed virtually the same increase in saliva T over the course of competition. While the most proximal cause of this increase is not known, it is probably not the result of an increase in gonadotropin (GTH) secretion since an increase in GTH secretion would presumably be prevented by OC use.Hormones and Behavior 02/2009; 56(2):195-8. · 3.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: RIA-based sex hormone measurements offer only limited precision and specificity in the low concentration range of women. Therefore, we aimed to establish age-specific reference ranges for serum sex hormone concentrations in women using mass spectrometry and quantile regression. Data from 985 women aged 20-80 yr, recruited for the prospective Study of Health in Pomerania, were included in the analyses. Quantile regressions models were performed to calculate the age-specific 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles for sex hormone concentrations in women. Serum total testosterone (TT) and androstenedione (AD) concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Measured concentrations of SHBG and TT were used to calculate free testosterone (free T). TT, AD, and free T concentrations showed a distinct age-related decline across 10-yr age groups (one way ANOVA P < 0.001). Sex hormone reference ranges for TT, AD, and free T were determined across each single year of age and for 10-yr age groups. Reference ranges over the whole age range of 20-80 yr were 0.35-1.97 nmol/liter for TT, 0.89-4.56 nmol/liter for AD, and 0.0025-0.0253 nmol/liter for free T. Separate reference ranges were provided for pre- and postmenopausal women as well as after inclusion of women using oral contraceptives or hormone therapy (n = 1357). This is the first study to establish age-specific reference ranges for liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-measured TT and AD and calculated free T concentrations based on quantile regression analyses, accurately accounting for the observed low concentration range and the strong age dependency of these sex hormones in women.The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 12/2011; 97(2):408-15. · 6.50 Impact Factor
Article: Gender verification in the Olympics.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 10/2000; 284(12):1568-9. · 29.98 Impact Factor