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27/06/2024 - 3 min read

Navigating Fertility Preservation: Empowering Transgender Journeys

For many transgender individuals, the journey toward living authentically often involves significant medical and personal decisions. One important consideration that can sometimes be overlooked in the early stages of transition is fertility preservation - this process allows trans people to retain their ability to have biological children in the future. In this blog, we will explore what fertility preservation entails, and why it might be an important step for trans individuals to consider.

Understanding fertility preservation 
Fertility preservation involves saving or protecting gametes (sperm or eggs) or reproductive tissue so that a person can use them to conceive a child later in life. For trans people, taking steps to preserve fertility can be crucial, especially if they plan to undergo hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries that might affect their reproductive capabilities. 

Options for fertility preservation 
The options available for fertility preservation vary depending on whether an individual is assigned male or female at birth and their transition plans. Here are the primary methods: 

For trans women & assigned male at birth (AMAB) individuals 

Sperm freezing: 
Sperm freezing is the most common method for trans women. Before starting hormone therapy or undergoing surgeries, a sample of sperm is collected and frozen for future use in assisted reproductive technologies like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). 

For trans men & assigned female at birth (AFAB) individuals 

Egg Freezing: 
Before starting testosterone therapy, trans men can opt for egg freezing. This process involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved and frozen for future use in IVF. 

Embryo Freezing: 
For those who have a partner or are using donor sperm, fertilizing the eggs and freezing embryos might be a preferred choice. This method ensures a higher chance of successful pregnancy compared to egg freezing alone. 

Why consider fertility preservation? 

Future family planning: 
Fertility preservation provides trans individuals with the opportunity to have biological children in the future, offering flexibility and choice in family planning regardless of their transition. 

Peace of mind: 
Knowing that there are preserved gametes or reproductive tissues can provide peace of mind, allowing trans people to focus on their transition without the pressure of making immediate reproductive decisions. 

Medical considerations: 
Hormone therapies and gender-affirming surgeries can impact fertility. Preserving fertility before starting these treatments ensures that the option of having biological children remains open. 

Psychological well-being: 
For some trans people, the ability to have biological children can be a significant aspect of their identity and future happiness. Fertility preservation can contribute to overall psychological well-being. 

Challenges and considerations 

Fertility preservation can be expensive, and not all insurance plans cover these procedures. It’s important to explore financial options and consider potential costs

Access and Support: 
Access to fertility preservation services might be limited in some areas, and finding supportive healthcare providers, like Care Fertility, who are knowledgeable about the specific needs of trans individuals is crucial. 

The best time to consider fertility preservation is before starting hormone therapy or undergoing surgeries that affect reproductive organs. Early planning is essential to maximise options. 

Fertility preservation offers trans individuals the opportunity to plan for a future that includes the possibility of biological children. It’s a deeply personal decision that should be made with careful consideration and the guidance of knowledgeable healthcare professionals. By understanding and utilising fertility preservation options, trans people can ensure that their journey towards living authentically does not close the door on their dreams of parenthood. 

For those considering this step, seeking support from specialised fertility clinics, LGBTQ+ health services, and counselling can provide the necessary resources and information to make informed decisions. Remember, the choice to preserve fertility is an empowering one, providing the freedom to build the family you envision in your own time and on your own terms. 

Ready to take the next step? 

If you’re embarking on, or have already begun, your transition but want to know your options for having a family in the future, get in touch and one of our specialist fertility doctors will be able to advise you on your options.