Preserving fertility before a gender transition

man putting on blushIf you are going through a gender transition and having medical treatment (including hormone therapy or surgery) you may wish to store eggs, sperm or embryos to preserve your fertility for the future.  You will need medical advice about your options and the best timing for storing eggs or sperm and, if you are storing eggs, you will need to go through a cycle of IVF treatment in order to stimulate your egg production.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health's Standards of Care state:

"Many transgender, transsexual and gender nonconforming people will want to have children. Because feminizing/masculnizing hormone therapy limits fertility, it is desirable for patients to make decisions concerning fertility before starting hormone therapy or undergoing surgery to remove/alter their reproductive organs... MtF patients, especially those who have not already reproduced, should be informed about sperm preservation options and encouraged to consider banking their sperm prior to hormone therapy... Reproductive options for FtM patients might include oocyte (egg) or embryo freezing. The frozen gametes and embryo could later be used with a surrogate woman to carry a pregnancy."

UK law allows you to store eggs, sperm or embryos at a fertility clinic in the UK, subject to the regulatory rules which the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority oversees.

One of the most important rules is consent.  You must consent to the storage of your own eggs or sperm (or to the storage of embryos created using them) and they cannot be used in any way unless you agree.  Find out more about the consent rules for gametes.

The law also governs how long your gametes can be stored for.  The basic storage period for eggs or sperm in the UK is ten years. However, if you are storing eggs or sperm in anticipation of medical treatment that will make you 'prematurely infertile', you can extend this storage period every ten years, up to a maximum of 55 years. It is important that you renew your storage period before each ten-year period expires, when a doctor also has to certify that you are prematurely infertile. Find out more about storage period for gametes and embryos.

If you are planning children having changed gender, questions may arise about whether you will legally be your child's mother or father.  Find out more about legal parenthood for trans parents

Depending on your circumstances, you might also be considering conceiving with the help of a surrogate, or an egg or sperm donor.  Find out more about surrogacy law and donor conception law

Have we answered your question? Would you like advice on your personal circumstances?

Email us at hello@ngalaw.co.uk or call on 020 3701 5915 and we will explain how we can help.