The number of transgender patients freezing their eggs or sperm has increased noticeably in the last 12 months, says Katie Warburton, the new Patient Support Specialist at Bourn Hall. She is attending an LGBTQ+ training course to help her and her team provide appropriate support to this growing group of patients.
“Most of the fertility preservation patients within this group are single trans people, but now we are also starting to see couples that have transitioned returning with partners for fertility treatment with their frozen eggs or sperm, which is really satisfying,” she says.
The tailored advice will include ways to boost your natural fertility, recommendations for tests and explanation of what the results will tell you and discussion of the treatment options that are relevant to you.
Fertility preservation gives options
Some medical interventions such as hormone treatments or surgery can damage eggs and sperm so freezing these gametes before treatment keeps open the opportunity to have your own biological children later in life. Awareness is increasing that cryopreservation before gender reassignment is available and Bourn Hall is offering this service to more patients, often through the NHS.
Katie explains: “All aspects of fertility preservation and treatment are highly regulated, and we have a duty of care to provide all the information and support to our patients during their treatment journey as well as explaining the options and future implications of the treatments offered.
“There is a considerable amount of paperwork and consent forms required during treatment. To help patients with this we have implemented an online consenting system, and I was involved in facilitating its launch and introduction into the clinic.”
With the Fertility Consent system, information is provided at each stage of the process using videos and information sheets and you need to have shown you have understood and agreed before progressing to the next step.
Many patients have said they find the short explanatory videos very helpful.
“In my role as patient support specialist my team provide a dedicated point of contact for transgender patients, patients who are donating eggs or sperm or using a donor for their own treatment, patients undergoing surrogacy and with same-sex couples.
“These cases are more complex and often benefit from extra support, we check in regularly with them to see if they have any questions or queries and offer access to counselling as appropriate.
“In addition to providing surrogacy treatment for women who are unable to carry a pregnancy themselves, we have successfully treated male same-sex couples using a surrogate. “
“I sincerely hope that we will continue to see an increase in treatments for the LGBTQ+ community, as there is wider awareness that these options are available at Bourn Hall with excellent success rates, with the additional benefit of patients not needing to travel to a London clinic for treatment. My goal is to provide a fully inclusive culture where all of our patients feel supported and cared for throughout their journey at Bourn Hall”
Get in touch to discuss your preservation and treatment options
Have a chat with us before considering procedures that may impact your future fertility.
The supporting patient choice section on our Fertility Blog discusses the options for LGBT+ patients and also the benefits of a regulated clinic for wellbeing and security.
Consider your fertility preservation options ahead of any medical procedure – these may be funded by the NHS depending on eligibility criteria.
If you decide to have fertility treatment you can reduce the cost of treatment by donating sperm or sharing eggs – we would be happy to discuss these options.