Having Children

So this is a post about the process of having kids with someone who is transgender when they are about to transition/ are transitioning or have transitioned. More specially it is mainly about sperm.

If you are female and your partner is MtF there may be a variety of barriers in your way to having children. The most obvious one is sperm. You have two options: either sperm from your partner or sperm from another man. If it is sperm from another man there are a variety of options to think about including a close relative of your partners, a close friends or an anonymous donor. These options have to be carefully discussed amongst all parties and basically you will go through all the normal processes that any lesbian couple or people with fertility problems will face.

If taking the option of sperm from your partner the basic thinking is that sperm banking before hormones is the best idea, and failing that, within 1 year of taking hormones. Outside of this time frame there is little you can do. Sperm is considered to last only 10years before it is considered to be “no good”. Some sperm banks will automatically destroy the material after this date, some won’t. If you have no choice it is hard because you basically have to have kids within 10years of sperm banking. I have heard of one trans couple who sperm banked but the transitioning partner did not have SRS. After 7 years of being on hormones, she stopped for 6 months and they conceived naturally. How common this is I have no idea. The general thinking is that 1-2 years on hormones will leave you infertile but no research has been done on this to prove it. Don’t get your hopes up though! It is a risky business and no matter what you might want to sperm bank for back-up.

Once your partner has sperm banked the sperm is divided into “straws” which are then frozen. I believe the average amount of “straws” per normal sample is around 8-10 and this is enough for many IVF cycles. IVF is invasive for the pregnant partner as eggs are harvested, fertilised and then embedded. It is also expensive and the only option if you have limited sperm. Another option is the “turkey baster” option; one or two straws is defrosted and injected into you at ovulation time and… voila! Almost like natural. A lot less expensive and invasive but requires a good amount of straws.

Next is medical care. Who will take care of you medically and will you have supportive midwife/ obstetrician? Sometimes to non-gestational mother will get sidelined. Try not to let that happen so you can both bond.

Breastfeeding. Both mothers can breastfeed! Yah! Find a GP willing to prescribe the relevant hormones around 26weeks into the pregnancy and then use a breast pump to stimulate milk.

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4 Responses to Having Children

  1. Shallow Heart says:

    Thank you so much for this post (and your blog as a whole)! My partner has relatively recently come out to me as a transwoman, and we’ve only in the last month discovered the importance of saving sperm before she starts hormone therapy. We’re not sure yet if we want to have kids. But since we want the option, and since I’m 30 and biologically female (though I identify as genderqueer), it’s actually a relief in our case that we have a good 10 years before we have to worry about my partner’s saved sperm having deteriorated. After all, we only have about 10 years for me too. So in a way knowing that may actually make it easier to make the decision, as time goes on and we get closer to needing to decide. 🙂

  2. R says:

    Any ideas around mtf partners coping whilst you are pregnant? I imagine there could be a lot of distress they can’t themselves be carrying the child, wondering if you know of any resources on coping with this

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