IRMS Delivers Egg Freezing Services for the Transgender Community

Debbra A. Keegan, M.D. Dr. Keegan ART

As I was driving to work this morning, I heard on the radio that Target will be among the first (if not THE FIRST) retail guru to maintain a policy that transgender customers are welcome to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Way to take a stand! Societal “norms” can be extremely difficult for individuals who have chosen to live by their gender identity and not their assigned gender. Target’s stand on this is truly admirable and shows that they recognize people as individuals and not by their birth genitalia.

This piece of news inspired me. More and more, adolescents who recognize that their assigned gender does not match their gender identity are doing something about it. There are programs that are dedicated to facilitating the transition process, both medically and psychologically. Patients that I have met come to me to freeze their eggs. Usually, they are gender assigned females, transitioning to male who would like to freeze their eggs with the intent of having their own biological child(ren) in the future. I applaud my patients who have the internal fortitude to not only go forward with the tremendous decision to bear the burden of a public gender transition in HIGH SCHOOL (as if it isn’t bad enough), but to be insightful enough to recognize that freezing their eggs before they complete the transition can be life altering. That being said, the process is relatively easy. If a transgender male has not begun the process of taking hormones, we can easily stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs that can be “vitrified” for future use. We don’t have a lot of data on these cases specifically, but down the road, these eggs can be “warmed” or thawed, inseminated with sperm and transferred to a carrier uterus. Of course there are many, many considerations that go along with the establishment of pregnancy, but egg freezing is that first step toward reproductive autonomy that all individuals should have, transgender or otherwise. In patients that have begun the transition process and have decided to freeze eggs, they may have to stop hormones for a while before the actual ovarian stimulation. This is because testosterone injections can suppress ovarian function beyond our ability to stimulate for egg growth.

I am trying to get the word out that anyone who is contemplating or beginning the process of transitioning, come in and talk about their options. There is no guarantee that frozen eggs make a baby, but the odds these days are very good, particularly at IRMS. What I can guarantee is a knowledgeable and sensitive staff that is increasingly becoming part of many transgender adolescent lives. Use any bathroom that makes you feel like you! We are here to help.

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