Infertility is a rarely discussed but serious result of gender transitioning. About 600 girls in Britain take hormone blockers to stop puberty annually, beginning the sex change process, but also potentially rendering themselves infertile. In their guidance on fertility preservation, the British Fertility Society has said that the National Health Service (NHS) should now provide funding to transgender men who want to freeze their eggs before they transition.
The risk to fertility is often dismissed as unproven by those who advocate for hormonal intervention on pre-pubescent children, but if this was the case, why is there now a push for government-funded fertility preservation?
Transgender men who might wish to have their own biological children post-transition are advised to freeze their eggs before they begin the transition process. The service is available, but is currently only provided for free to cancer patients about to undergo radiation.
Infertility is a real disease, recognised as such by the World Health Organisation, that requires treatment because of the direct and indirect burden of ill health on the NHS and wider society.
In principle, the reason for infertility should not affect the decision to consider treatment.
For many people undergoing gender transition, it is the medical treatment they receive that causes infertility – we do not consider this any differently than we do infertility as a consequence of, for example, life-saving cancer treatment.
While some people are questioning whether the taxpayer should bear the cost of these treatments, no one seems to be questioning the cost to the transitioner themselves who, prior to being given hormone blockers, will first have to be subjected to increased hormonal treatment followed by an invasive egg retrieval procedure. Nor has anyone spoken of the impact on their future children, who will be asked to treat as “normal” the concept that it was their father who gave birth to them. Will this become a new norm?