Italy is the latest European country whose professional health body has warned against the use of puberty blocking drugs in children.
The Italian Psychoanalytic Society (SPI) penned a letter this month to the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, expressing “great concern” over the “ongoing experimentation” of drugs meant to stop puberty in children and urging “rigorous scientific discussion.”
“The diagnosis of gender dysphoria at prepubertal age is based on the statements of the individuals concerned and cannot be subject to careful evaluation while the development of sexual identity is still in progress,” the letter says.
The letter, written by president Sarantis Thanopulos and published on the society’s website, outlined “contraindications” to the puberty-blocking drugs that should be “seriously considered.”
“Only a minority of children who state that they do not identify with their gender confirm this position in adolescence, after puberty,” the letter continued. A body of research indicates that roughly 60–90% of children who identify as transgender, but do not socially or medically transition, will no longer identify as transgender in adulthood.
“It is important to initiate a rigorous scientific discussion on the issue of children with gender problems, to which the Italian Psychoanalytic Society will gladly contribute,” the letter concluded.
Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister who took office in October 2022, indicated skepticism of radical gender theory during a speech she gave in Spain last June, in which she said, “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology …”
There is a growing international consensus that minors experiencing gender dysphoria should be treated with psychotherapy first, not medical interventions. Health authorities in Sweden, Finland, and the U.K. have unanimously concluded after systematic reviews of evidence for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones that the risks and uncertainties outweigh any purported benefits.
Far from “completely safe and reversible” and “a pause button on puberty,” as proponents of “gender-affirming care” claim, the children who begin taking puberty blockers during the first signs of puberty and go on to take cross-sex hormones, which constitute the vast majority, will become sterilized and may never be able to achieve orgasm.
The New York Times investigated the deleterious effects that puberty blockers have on bone health, and published an article after reviewing the scientific literature and interviewing over 50 doctors and academic experts around the world.
In the United States, doctors have prescribed puberty blockers off-label as a “treatment” for gender dysphoria in adolescents on an experimental basis. There are no long-term studies to support its use during this critical window of brain and body development, and they are not FDA-approved for their off-label use.