Transgenderism a hot topic in Geneva

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Transgenderism is indeed one of hottest topics of this year’s Annual Meeting – for several reasons. First, many people working in the field of fertility are coming new to the subject but are already receiving more and more referrals and appointments from transgenders. And second, the topic is attracting much interest in the press and social media.

The attention paid to transgenderism has grown over the past few years, especially since a few celebrities came out in public – and certainly with since more fertility options available to them. In the UK most of the transgender cases can have medical/psychological care, treatments to assist them in their transition and fertility preservation for free. This is not the case for other EU countries, where many treatments, such as surrogacy, remain illegal.

What are the answers which many transgender people most wish to hear – and indeed what are their tricky questions? Fertility preservation opportunities will depend on their wishes for the future. In Sweden, for example, 46% of trans-men cryopreserve eggs and 76% of trans-women preserve sperm. But why should any does sex gender definition really matter in 2017? Non-binary gender identification is more often a question in adolescents, when they do not know to which sex they belong. Moreover, are eggs and sperm the only cells dissociated from womanhood or manhood in 2017? As children  grow free from sexual identification they are more open to changes than adults who are embedded within cultural, religious and ethical constraints.

And is uterine transplantation a real option for trans-women to experience motherhood in the same way that women do? Finally, if we think that a man who becomes pregnant and gives birth is a real challenge, how do we react to stem cell-derived gametes which may even allow us to grow eggs from male cells in future? Watch this space.

Arianna D’Angelo, Co-ordinator SIG Safety and Quality in ART

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