May 29, 2024

British fertility doctors back government-funded egg freezing for ‘transfolk’

Infertility is a disease

Women who have sex change surgery to become men should still be able to have babies, according to the British Fertility Society.

Dr James Barrett, lead clinician at the Gender Identity Clinic at Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, complains that: “The number of people coming forward with gender dysphoria has increased rapidly over the past decade. But the consistent provision of [National Health Service] funding for fertility preservation for this group is yet to catch up.  

“This is medical. It's people whose fertility is impaired as a result of actually NHS mandated treatment for a well-established condition that has been treated by the NHS for the last 50 years.”

Powerful hormone treatment and surgery could make women who are becoming men infertile. This “is a real disease,” says Dr Barrett, “and it is hugely frustrating that the whole NHS is not always able to help our patients with that part of their lives.

Another problem faced by British women who want to become men is that some NHS Trusts use eleigibility criteria for women seeking fertility preservation about weight and age. For IVF, women have to be 23, but it seems that ‘transfolk’ are often younger.

Josephine Quintavalle, from Comment on Reproductive Ethics, told The Telegraph (London): “The cash-strapped NHS should be concentrating on offering good basic healthcare to women or helping them beat their cancer, and not get side-tracked with these kinds of novelties. Egg freezing is an invasive procedure and the outcomes are far from clear.”

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