Natalie Gamble Associates

Transgender family creation: fertility preservation and treatment

A parent touching faces with son

If you have changed or are considering changing gender, you might want to know whether you can still have children, and how the law affects your family if you do.  Hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery usually impairs fertility, so you might want to store your gametes to use later, in which case the law governs how long you can store them for and the conditions of storage.  If you are planning children having changed gender, you need to know more about your treatment options under UK law, and whether you will legally be your child's mother or father.

If you have changed or are considering changing gender, you might want to know whether you can still have children. Hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery usually impairs fertility, so you might want to store your gametes to use later.

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."

a rainbow windmill

It is sensible to seek medical advice about your options and the best timing for storing eggs or sperm for your future use.  If you are storing eggs, you will need to go through a cycle of IVF treatment in order to stimulate your egg production.

In respect of the legal position, you must consent to the storage of your eggs or sperm (or to the storage of embryos created using them).  Find out more about the consent rules for gametes.

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 hormone therapy or surgery that will render 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.