Fertility Preservation in the Trans Community

At work I have a bunch of different searches set up to email myself different journal articles related to queer bioethics, LGBT research ethics, transgender stuff, etc. Lately I’ve come across a number of different articles on the ethics of fertility preservation in the trans community (particularly with any type of body modification)

I’m probably less interested in the ethical debates and more interested in the implementation.  Things like providers having conversations with their trans patients/clients and establishing clinical guidelines and protocols for these discussions.  It’s nice to see that some places include fertility, like UCSF’s Center of Excellence for Trans Health’s “Primary Care Protocol For Trans Health”.    

Thinking back to the time (about 7 years ago now) when I started taking testosterone no physical or mental health providers ever discussed fertility issues with me. Granted, I may laughed in their face.  I was around 25 or 26 at the time.  I wasn’t ready to think about kids.  I was totally absorbed with surviving day-to-day and jumping through hoops so I could finally begin my transition and feel more comfortable in my body.    

 Things get even more important/interesting/complicated as youth begin to transition at earlier ages.  I know there is quite a bit written about having discussions about fertility in the oncology field, with teenagers who have cancer, but I haven’t found much of anything about teens and transition and fertility.   

Some of the research I currently work on is related to patient education and risk communication related. Specifically we look at improving ways of presenting risks and benefits of different treatments to help patients make better decisions. I often think about the decision to begin hormone therapy for trans folks….but I wonder how effective even the best designed health education materials could really be.  I’m sure everyone has their own unique experiences but personally my drive for self-actualization was so strong that I paid little attention to the risks (or just minimized them). 

In my case I think I would have responded similarly if a provider would have tried to discuss fertility with me back then, yet now I really wish they would have.

What’s in YOUR pants?

If it’s an intactivist information card, then you have something in common with K.

Today, upon putting on a new pair of khaki manternity pants that we recently purchased from Target, he discovered an informational card about circumcision for parents-to-be. It’s from a website called Saving Our Sons and looks like the following:

intactivist card front

intactivist card back

When K first pulled it out of his pocket, he thought it was some creepy religious thing or right-to-life message. Luckily, this card doesn’t say anything that’s outside what we would pursue if we happen to be having a boy, either now or in the future. We both thought it was a clever method to spread the word to an appropriate audience (though we doubt the person who left the card would ever think the message would end up in the pants of a pregnant dad-to-be!).

So true!

Considering someone recently located our blog by searching “what to get for a baby shower if they don’t know the gender,” I figured the following could be useful:

for boy or girl

Feel free to substitute the words “item” or “present” for “toy,” and the person who searched for gender-neutral baby gift ideas should be in luck! I wish I could cite the original source for the brilliance of this graphic, but I would like to thank my friend who sent this my way.

Total Fangirl Moment

I am totally geeking out. A few weeks ago, I contacted the renowned author of a book that many people use as their how-to guide when trying to conceive. I had heard that she was considering writing a book that focuses on transgender pregnancy and families. When I contacted her using the generic email address listed on her website, I told her about us, mentioned that K is in his first trimester, and thanked her for her inclusive conception book, which we’ve used almost exclusively throughout our journey. I also mentioned that I was very interested in her new project and that K and I would love to be involved in any way we could. I pressed send, doubting anything would ever come of it.

Yesterday, while I was in the middle of a harried, stressful work project, I took a moment to check my personal email. To my surprise, my inbox contained a reply from the author’s actual email address. To my even larger surprise, she was completely receptive to my previous offer for involvement! She wrote:

I am so happy for you guys that you are having a baby! That is fantastic! I am finally getting to writing the transgender pregnancy book so your timing is excellent! I have loads of questions for you guys. I am going  away for two weeks and will return at the end of the month. Let’s be in touch then. I am sorry that it took a while for your email to get to me. This is my personal email so feel free to use this one in the future.

AHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I only allowed myself to indulge my fangirl impulses for a few moments before hurriedly turning my attention back to my work project.

Even now, I am still stoked by her reply, mostly because it allows K and I an opportunity to do something that was one inspiration of our blog: to help other transgender people and their partners learn more about becoming gestational parents and using what’s available to them to create the families of their dreams. When we first started on our path toward conception, we found very few, albeit warm, open and helpful, transgender guys who’ve given birth to their kids, and even fewer written resources. Knowing that something of that sort could be on the horizon and that we could actually play a role in helping to make it a reality is nothing short of miraculous to us.