Press releases 18th February 2019

World experts supporting IAAF’s Eligibility Regulations for athletes with DSD at the CAS this week

The IAAF believes that equal treatment of men and women is not just a formal requirement of its Constitution but that empowering girls and women through athletics is a core value of the organisation, at the heart of what it believes the sport can offer to participants and to the world. The IAAF is committed to doing everything in its power to realise that value, for the benefit of the sport and of society in general.

The female category in sport is a protected category. For it to serve its purposes, which include providing females opportunities equal to males, it must have eligibility standards that ensure that athletes who identify as female but have testes, and testosterone levels in the male range, at least drop their testosterone levels into the female range in order to compete at the elite level in the female classification.

This standard is necessary to ensure fair competition for all women. Indeed, without it, we risk losing the next generation of female athletes, since they will see no path to success in our sport. The IAAF is confident that the scientific basis by which it has defined the limits of the category – limits which will apply equally to all competitors – will stand up to challenge in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The team of experts providing evidence at CAS this week in support of the IAAF regulations includes the following, with links to published papers on articles on their areas of expertise.

Dr Angelica Lindén Hirschberg is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Department of Women´s and Children´s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, with special focus on Reproductive Endocrinology. Her research is focused on disorders of reproductive dysfunction and gonadal development in women. The overall aim is to improve diagnostics, fertility and long-term health in women with strenuous exercise, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) and disorders of sex development (DSD). The research is translational from experimental in vitro studies of endometrial function to randomized controlled trials and population-based epidemiological studies performed in collaboration with national and international research networks. Dr Hirschberg’s paper on Serum androgen profile and physical performance in women Olympic athletes published in British Medical Journal in 2017 can be found here: https://www.iaaf.org/download/download?filename=e2ee7ab8-9dfc-48d6-babb-2f26192cffa4.pdf&urlSlug=serum-androgen-profile-and-physical-performan

David Handelsman is Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology and Andrology, University of Sydney, inaugural Director of the ANZAC Research Institute and head of Andrology Department, Concord Hospital, Sydney, Australia. His expertise in reproductive endocrinology and andrology involves basic, clinical and public health research with a focus on the physiology, pharmacology and toxicology of androgens. His research has focused on steroid mass spectrometry, anti-doping science, clinical pharmacology of androgens and their misuse and abuse. David’s comprehensive paper on Circulating Testosterone as the Hormonal Basis of Sex Differences in Athletic Performance published last year in Endocrine Reviews can be found here: https://www.iaaf.org/download/download?filename=80d1de43-0ba4-4054-bf3f-daad00bf7dea.pdf&urlSlug=circulating-testosterone-as-the-hormonal-basi

Joanna Harper has worked as a medical physicist for more than 30 years and is also a long time athletics competitor. Nine months after initiating hormone therapy in 2004 as part of her transition from male to female, she was running 12% slower – the difference between male and female runners – and this triggered her interest in the science of gender diverse athletes. Eventually, she published the first paper analysing transgender sports performance. The study led to her appointment as expert adviser to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and one of the authors of the 2016 IOC transgender guidelines. Harper has published additional papers on the subject of gender variance and sport. Joanna’s personal journey, love of running and her scientific research was published in Science Magazine last year and can be found here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/07/scientist-racing-discover-how-gender-transitions-alter-athletic-performance-including

Doriane Lambelet Coleman is a Professor of Law at Duke Law School. She specialises in teaching and scholarship related to culture, women, children, medicine, and law. She is an expert in anti-doping rules and has practiced, taught, and written about sports law, with a focus on the Olympic Movement and eligibility issues. Her current work focuses on the differences between biological sex and gender identity and the implications of those differences for institutions ranging from elite sport to education and medicine. In her previous life (as Doriane Lambelet) Coleman ran the 800 meters in collegiate and international competition. She was a multiple All American, All East, and All Ivy athlete, the US National Collegiate Indoor Champion in 1982, and the Swiss National Champion in 1982 and 1983. Doriane’s paper on Sex in Sport can be found here: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=4849&context=lcp and her article on Sex, Sport, and Why Track and Field’s New Rules on Intersex Athletes Are Essential, published in the New York Times in 2018, can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/30/sports/track-gender-rules.html

Richard Auchus, MD, PhD is former Professor of Pharmacology and Internal Medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes and Director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Program at the Medical School of the University of Michigan. Dr. Auchus has authored more than 200 journal articles and book chapters and is active in research projects ranging from basic chemical principles of steroid biosynthetic enzymes to clinical and translational investigation in disorders of the pituitary, adrenals, ovaries, and testes that cause hypertension, infertility, and obesity. Richard’s paper on Endocrinology and Women’s Sports: The diagnosis matters can be found here: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=4850&context=lcp

• This media release was published by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on 18 February 2019. Click here for the original.

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