Female to male transition
For individuals seeking to transition from female to male, the following fertility preservation options may apply:
- egg freezing
- ovarian tissue freezing (still experimental and there is only limited data available on its efficacy)
- embryo freezing
Male to female transition
- sperm freezing
- testicular tissue freezing (still experimental and has not yet lead to any reported births)
- embryo freezing
What is gender dsyphoria?
Gender dsyphoria occurs when a person’s gender identity is inconsistent with the gender they were assigned at birth. It can raise challenging issues emotionally, medically and legally when individuals seek to transition from female to male, male to female or assume a non-binary identity (neither exclusively male or female).
Why consider fertility preservation?
Changing gender can result in infertility. This makes it important to consider fertility preservation options before undertaking gender reassignment hormone or surgical treatment. This will help maximise chances of achieving biological child/ren in future through assisted conception.
In cases where an individual is already taking hormone therapy or drugs to suppress puberty it can sometimes be possible to temporarily reverse treatment to freeze their eggs or sperm. However, the longer an individual has taken hormone therapy, the greater the chances their fertility will have been compromised or lost. It can also be difficult and upsetting to stop taking hormone therapy and some individuals may as a result wish to consider conception arrangements with donor eggs or sperm.
Do I need legal advice?
Specialist legal advice can help manage a range of legal issues associated with a legal change in gender, including:
- Tailored advice about family building options and law as a trans or non-binary individual.
- Tailored advice about fertility preservation options and law as a trans or non-binary individual.
- Giving informed legal (as opposed to medical) consent to fertility treatment at a UK fertility clinic as a trans individual (including storage and use of gametes and embryos).
- Obtaining spousal consent to a change in legal gender and obtaining a new marriage certificate upon issue of a Gender Recognition Certificate.
- Divorce proceedings (if a spouse disagrees with a change in gender).
- Dissolution of a civil partnership (since UK law only recognises same-sex civil partnerships).
- Care and upbringing of a child.
Can I legally change my gender?
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 enables individuals in the UK with gender dsyphoria to change their legal gender by obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Upon grant of a GRC, an individual assumes their ‘acquired gender’ (although there are still some exceptions in law).
They can then obtain a British birth certificate reflecting their recognised legal gender.
Will I need fertility treatment?
If an individual has undergone genital surgery, they will require assisted conception treatment, surrogacy or adoption in order to have children. Genital surgery includes removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, womb, testes and penis.
There are various assisted conception and fertility treatment options for trans individuals to consider, including:
- IVF and ICSI
- Egg donation
- Sperm donation
- Embryo donation