According to a news release published by MIT Technology Review, the findings of a new study show that combining two currently utilized technologies could let trans guys bear babies.
Because fertility treatments necessitate halting gender-affirming hormone therapy and undergoing potentially painful procedures such as female hormone therapies and vaginal inspections, the new technique is critical.
combining two existing approaches
Some cancer survivors have already used egg retrieval to bear children. Furthermore, the so-called “three-parent strategy” has been employed to help people prevent transferring genetic illnesses to their children and to increase fertility.
According to this new study, these procedures could be coupled to boost a trans man’s chances of using his eggs to develop a healthy embryo and becoming a father without the need for conventional fertility treatments.
“Everyone should have the right to reproduce,” says Antonia Christodoulaki of Ghent University in Belgium, who presented her findings last month at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Milan, Italy. She goes on to say that this procedure could provide trans men with more alternatives, particularly for those who want to produce children using their eggs.
“It’s another possibility for people to have their biological children,” says Suzannah Williams of the University of Oxford, who was not involved with the study. “You do end up with a three-parent household… but it’s a good chance.”
Conventional approaches are both physically and mentally painful.
Because gender-affirming therapies may affect fertility, trans men who want biological children and are considering gender-affirming therapies should have some of their eggs harvested and frozen.
Testosterone therapy, for example, is thought to affect egg production. Some people may also choose to have their ovaries surgically removed.
Fertility preservation treatments, on the other hand, may cause trans men to have unpleasant side effects such as breast discomfort and cramps. Vaginal examinations at women’s health clinics may be upsetting for someone who does not identify as female. “If you’re a trans man, egg harvesting is considered highly difficult and unpleasant, both physically and mentally,” Williams explains.
Although the approach has not yet been tested on a transgender person, Christodoulaki and her colleagues believe it could help trans persons bear children. To put it to the test, the researchers used ovaries given by trans males.
“We still don’t know what the long-term impacts will be on the babies,” Christodoulaki adds. “It’s a really promising technology… “However, I would not say we are ready for clinical [usage].”
According to Jess Cadenas, a postdoctoral reproductive biologist at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen who was not involved in the study, the findings are encouraging. He also cautions that the study is on a modest scale. In either case, he acknowledges that it is too early to offer this procedure as a fertility treatment for trans men.