I discuss hormones in general elsewhere, but this is about getting hormones and blockers as a minor. This can make a big difference, so figure out what’s right for you.
The easiest and safest option is coming out to a supportive parent or guardian who will help. You may have a hard time finding a healthcare professional who will help you without parental consent. I strongly urge you to take these steps with parental consent and with medical supervision.
Dosage and brand guidelines
I am a major advocate of the importance of hormone blockers for minors. Even if you do not think you can start hormones yet, you should consider taking an hormone blocker to delay your puberty. Stopping the effects of hormones is one of the most important things you can do at your age. Try to find a way if at all possible.
Succeeding without knowledge of parent/guardian
Some parents will not respond well if you come out to them. If you think your parents will punish you or throw you out of the house, you should consider whether you should do this without their knowledge or not. Obtaining hormones without parental knowledge or permission is more difficult for minors and requires some extra planning.
Via a family planning clinic
- Planned Parenthood
- At this time, only some Planned Parenthood health centers are able to offer hormone treatments for trans people. The best way to learn about the services available in your area is to call your nearest Planned Parenthood health center.
- Some young transfeminine people have been able to obtain birth control pills or other medications through a family planning clinic or through a public health clinic. Birth control pills have low doses of female hormones and must be taken in larger doses to get the desired levels. They also do not provide much anti-androgen, which is important for stopping you from going through puberty.
Via adult friends and peers
- You might ask a trusted friend or family member who is over 18 to help you. This will probably require confiding in someone. There’s a chance they might tell your parents, so consider this carefully before talking to someone.
- If you know other women in your area who are transitioning and 18 or older, you may be able to get one of them to assist you. Again, be cautious when meeting people, even other people who are (or claim to be) transitioning. Some of them may be more interested in sex than in helping.
Via your personal physician
- Though this is rare, some women have been able to get this by simply asking. You should tell the physician that you wish to ask something that you do not want to discuss with your parents. If your physician agrees not to tell your parents, then ask about what you want. It is unlikely this will work, but if you trust your physician, it can’t hurt to ask. Some might be more open to prescribing an antiandrogen if you say you hope to reduce your sex drive. You can say that there is some evidence that this can make interest in transition go away for some people.
- Another possible option is to start hormones from another source, and then tell your physician that you are worried about doing it without medical supervision. Some doctors will assist you in order to reduce the chances of harming yourself. This is even more likely if you pass and present to the doctor as a girl. They may want to do blood tests and maybe a gene test (karyotype).
Traveling outside your country
- Many people in towns near the southern US border make the trip to Mexico for drugs without a prescription. For minors, leaving the country requires appropriate documentation and can be difficult to do if you don’t speak Spanish well. The best option is to have an older friend do this for you. Many women make little field trips down there a few times a year to stock up. Tijuana is not as easy as it used to be, and many pharmacies there no longer carry larger vials of injectable estradiol valerate.
Ordering online or by mail
- This is an increasingly popular option, though you need to take a few extra steps if you are trying to keep this from your parents.
How to order medications from overseas
Step one: Choosing a shipping address
Friend or relative
- If you have someone you absolutely trust, you might consider this option, but I do not recommend it.
- You might set up a private mailbox to accept packages at a local UPS Store or similar type of store. I recommend that over the Post Office if possible, since the Post Office can scrutinize shipments more carefully. This will probably cost $50 to $100 a year. Some private places may say they do not give them to minors. If that happens, head over to the post office and set one up.
Post office mailbox
- Post office box service may be provided to a minor (a person under 18 years of age) unless the minor’s parent or guardian submits a written objection to the appropriate postmaster.
- I have written a separate page on obtaining a post office box for minors
Step two: Choosing a payment method
Credit/debit cards (best option)
- If you have a checking account of your own (which you should if possible), you can probably get a debit card that can be used to order online. Many online places will require a credit card to place an order. There are a lot of scams out there, so it is important to research before sending anyone any money or financial information. You could become a victim of identity theft. Only use a place that is recommended by someone who successfully made an order.
Cash by mail (not recommended)
- This is not a good idea. They can just pocket your money and say they never got it. Many places won’t even accept cash, especially if it’s from another country.
Check (OK option)
- You may be able to mail a personal check for your order. This will take longer, but is an option. I recommend getting a money order instead.
Money orders (better option)
- You can get a money order from your bank, or from a lot of retail outlets like Western Unions, 7-Elevens, currency exchanges, etc. You will need to know the exact amount and who to make the money order out to.
Online payment services (good option)
- Some places may allow you to pay via PayPal or Amazon if you have an account set up to send and receive money through them.
Step three: Choosing an online pharmacy
Ordering hormones from outside the country requires up-to-date research. Do not rely on information more than a few weeks old. Many of these pharmacies move frequently or go out of business. You will need to confirm any information by doing your own research. Recent online pharmacies at the time of this update include:
All Day Chemist (alldaychemist.com)
Global Pharmacy Plus (.globalpharmacyplus.com)
Planet Drugs Direct (planetdrugsdirect.com)
Obtaining hormones without a prescription involves violating federal regulations. Most enforcement is targeted at the distributors, not the end users, and FDA has been cracking down on some of these online resources for selling drugs without a prescription. You might want to read what they have to say.
Basically, the worst that would probably happen to you is that you pay and never receive your order. You need to consider that when ordering.
Check My Meds app
Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (safemedsonline.org)
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (nabp.pharmacy)
If you are soon to be 18, you may qualify for reduced cost prescriptions. A reader writes:
For those who have lost their job/insurance or insurance won’t pay the cost of hormones there are prescription outreach services if you meet the income guidelines. www.rxoutreach.com and www.rxassist.org are 2 resources. I recently received a 90 day supply of estradiol and spironolactanone for $20 each. Big savings when you have a limited budget.