There are so many options today for people who are transgender to create the family of their dreams- including genetically related children. Most reputable reproductive clinics have the resources necessary to help you on your journey to parenthood. Many adoption clinics are also open to working with transgender individuals and foster-to-adopt programs can be a meaningful way to build your family.
There are many steps in the beginning of this journey to consider:
All transgender persons must discontinue exogenous hormones before embarking on reproduction, though how long before is unknown at this time, and certainly can vary from individual to individual. After discontinuing these hormones, the time needed to return to fertility is variable and in some cases, may be irreversible. The various courses of treatments available vary depending on who you are in a relationship with and what gametes are needed for reproduction.
For transwomen (male to female) the options for preservation of fertility include sperm cryopreservation, or “freezing”. Transwomen may undergo intrauterine insemination of the female partner. In vitro fertilization may also be recommended using partner or donor eggs or sperm and/or the partner’s uterus or gestational carrier.
For transmen (female to male), fertility options include oocyte and/or embryo cryopreservation/vitrification or “freezing”, using partner or donor sperm. Transmen may undergo intrauterine insemination using partner or donor sperm or may require IVF using his own, partner or donor eggs. Embryos may be transferred into his own uterus, his partner’s uterus or into a gestational surrogate.
Additionally, most clinics require that you have a consultation with a mental health professional. This is done to provide you with an opportunity to discuss a myriad of issues related to LGBTQI family building. You’ll be able to talk with a therapist about how to talk with your children and other family members about your decision. They can also help you deal with any prejudice or any other emotional issues that may come up during the process to conceive, the pregnancy and ultimately parenting. Your mental health provider should be someone who is educated and knowledgeable both in reproductive medicine and in transgender issues. Your medical professional or The American Society for Reproductive Medicine can provide you with referrals.
Legal counsel is generally required whenever anyone uses a third party for reproduction. This would include the use of a donor egg, donor sperm, donor embryo and when utilizing a gestational carrier. This is done to protect all parties involved and ultimately to ensure that you, your donor and/or gestational surrogate and your child are protected.
There are many paths to parenthood. For many this can be a long and often costly process, with emotional ups and downs. Fortunately, there are many trained and caring professionals to help you navigate the process, regardless of which path you choose.