Who are puberty blockers for?

In transgender healthcare, puberty blockers are prescribed to adolescents who are experiencing distress around the onset of puberty. They delay the onset of puberty to allow the patient more time to explore their gender identity and find a way to resolve the distress.

GnRH analogues - the medical name for puberty blockers - or just blockers - are also used to treat precocious puberty in children, and infertility and endometriosis in adults.

Contrary to popular belief, puberty blockers are not routinely prescribed to gender-diverse children. Children are naturally inclined to explore their gender identity, and this does not necessarily require medical intervention. Blockers are extremely unlikely to be prescribed to anyone unless:
  • they have a history of discomfort with their assigned gender at birth,
  • they are experiencing gender dysphoria,
  • that dysphoria is aggravated by the prospect of puberty.

When they are indicated, it is only when the individual has moved to Tanner stage two, the beginning of the physical developments caused by the onset of puberty.