Fertility Preservation in Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming Populations

Over 1.4 million people identify as transgender in the United States, and our understanding of transgender healthcare is limited. In the past, many people of trans* experience thought that seeking gender affirmation meant giving up hope of having a genetically-related family. Only recently have the reproductive needs of trans* people become an area of social and scientific interest.

There are multiple modalities through which trans* people may preserve gametes or have a genetically related family. For persons assigned male at birth, sperm may be retrieved through ejaculation for people comfortable with ejaculation, vibroacoustic or electroejaculation. For those unable to ejaculate, sperm may also be retrieved through testicular biopsy. Trans* women may pursue either spontaneous conception, intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF). For persons assigned female at birth, gametes may be retrieved through ovarian stimulation. Depending on their partner (if they have one), trans* men may also conceive spontaneously, with intrauterine insemination or with IVF.

Data are lacking, however, with regard to how to help these individuals and couples when they need reproductive assistance.  Furthermore, the data are limited to what factors contribute to one’s decision making about fertility preservation or family building on how clinicians can positively impact this process. The GEAR study will be one of the first of its kind to explore the impact of fertility options on quality of life among transgender, non-binary, and non-conforming people.

*We understand that the language and terminology used to describe our experiences and identities are ever-changing; we will try our best to continually update our content to reflect best practices of the transgender/gender non-conforming community. Referenced research publications may not always reflect contemporary language and terminology.  

Research Publications of Interest