Raised concerns about puberty blockers in Italy


Southern Europe


Photo Unsplash, Alexander Grey

Italy’s psychoanalytic authority (SPI) has raised questions over the use of puberty blockers in transgender hormone therapy.

The Italian Psychoanalytic Society’s president, Sarantis Thanopulos, recently published a letter that expressed “great concern” in drugs being targeted to block puberty for those with “gender dysphoria.”

“Only a minority of boys who say they do not identify with their gender confirm this position in adolescence, after puberty,” the letter said. Thanopulos also emphasised that such treatments cannot lead to a different body and should not be considered when the sexual development is still ongoing.


According to reporting from the Catholic News Agency, Thanopulos noted that such therapies come with serious contra-indications that can interfere with sexual development.

“Suspending or preventing a person’s psychosexual development pending the maturation of a stable identity definition is contradictory to the fact that this development is a central factor in the process of definition,” he said to SPI, which was quoted in the article.


Earlier in 2020, the Italian Medicines Agency opened the door to have hormone replacement therapies free of charge to those with an official diagnosis of “gender dysphoria.” Since then, psychologists have witnessed a significant rise in children expressing “gender incongruence.” Maddalena Mosconi, a psychologist based in Rome, says that she has seen a 315 per cent increase, which is likely caused by the pandemic’s increased isolation.

“The pandemic and its consequences, such as lockdown and isolation, confronted many kids with the question of ‘Who am I?’, ‘Am I a boy or a girl?’ When they come to us, a journey begins that lasts at least six months with testing and an observation period,” she told Elle magazine, which was quoted by the Catholic News Agency.

Hormone therapy

According to data from the European Agency For Fundamental Rights, the minimum age to receive transgender hormone therapy varies across Europe. The therapy is available in at least twenty Member States. In Italy, Austria, Lithuania, Croatia, and Portugal, the minimum age is set to 18 years old. However, adolescents in Croatia can receive transgender treatments before age 18 with parental consent. In Ireland, Malta, and the Netherlands, teens can access treatment starting at age 16. However, in the Netherlands, therapy can begin as young as 12 years old with parental consent.