Few transgender teens and parents willing to delay hormone therapy to preserve fertility
Research on transgender teens' and their parents' attitudes regarding fertility preservation will be presented during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2018 Meeting in Toronto. A new study found that while more research is needed on the subject, fertility preservation is a major factor for only a minority of transgender teens and their parents in deciding to delay hormone therapy.
Fertility preservation is an important issue to address with transgender and gender non-conforming youth and their families, prior to undergoing hormone therapy. However, little is known about transgender teens' and their parents' attitudes on fertility preservation.
The authors surveyed 66 youth and 52 parents of youth receiving gender-affirming medical care at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic. The average age of youth participating in the study was 16 and the majority (63 percent) was assigned female sex at birth. Surveys were administered electronically and contained 36 items about knowledge of fertility preservation, desire to have biologic children and other factors that may influence the decision to pursue fertility preservation.
"While hormone therapy has drastically improved the lives of countless transgender and gender non-conforming youth, its impact on fertility can unfairly force individuals to decide at a very early age whether or not they should preserve the ability to be a biological parent one day," said Rebecca Persky, MD, former Children's Hospital of Philadelphia resident, and lead author on the study. Dr. Persky now is a pediatric endocrinology fellow at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health. "These are difficult conversations for physicians to have with youth and families, and we hope our findings on how adolescents and parents approach these decisions will ultimately help providers counsel patients on hormone therapy with their fertility desires in mind."
While the majority of youth and parents were not willing to delay therapy to preserve biologic fertility, parents were significantly more likely to be willing to delay treatment and cited wanting more information as a major factor.
Dr. Persky will present the abstract, "Attitudes Towards Fertility Preservation Among Transgender Youth and Their Parents," during the PAS 2018 Meeting on Monday, May 7 at 10:30 a.m. EDT.