Fertility Preservation for Transgender Individuals: A Review

Alessandra J Ainsworth, Megan Allyse, Zaraq Khan
Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2020 February 27
Transgender individuals represent a small, albeit growing, patient population that is encountered more frequently in clinical care due to improved insurance coverage and increasing awareness. Gender-affirming treatments, including both gender-affirming hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery, pose significant risks to fertility potential and outcomes, ranging from potentially impaired fertility rates to full elimination of reproductive potential depending on the type of treatment pursued. However, there are relatively limited data specific to fertility preservation for transgender individuals. Current approaches to treatment are extrapolated from options for fertility preservation after oncologic diagnoses. In this review, we aim to summarize current clinical approaches, fertility preservation options, and patient experiences in fertility preservation for transgender individuals. Several forms of fertility preservation options are available depending on the pubertal status of a transgender individual. Despite the multiple options for fertility preservation, major barriers exist to patient care and there are reports of mixed patient experiences. Further awareness of this clinical situation and understanding of these processes will allow for comprehensive and specialized care for transgender individuals who may otherwise miss opportunities for adequate counseling or treatment options regarding fertility preservation.

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