Trans People and Assisted Reproduction Services

Trans* people have unique assisted reproduction needs

Academic Article:

Trans people’s experiences with assisted reproduction services: a qualitative study, S. James-Abra, Tarasoff, L.A., green, d., Epstein, R., Anderson, S., Marvel, S., Steele, L.S., & Ross, L.E. (Human Reproduction)

ABSTRACT: Study question: What are the experiences of trans persons (i.e. those whose gender identity does not match the gender assigned to them at birth) who sought or accessed assisted reproduction (AR) services in Ontario, Canada, between 2007 and 2010? Summary answer: The majority of trans persons report negative experiences with AR service providers. What is known already: Apart from research examining desire to have children among trans people, most of the literature on this topic has debated the ethics of assisting trans persons to become parents. To-date, all of the published research concerning trans persons’ experiences with AR services is solely from the perspective of service providers; no studies have examined the experiences of trans people themselves. Study design, size, duration: Secondary qualitative research study of data from nine trans-identified people and their partners (total n = 11) collected as part of a community-based study of access to AR services for sexual and gender minority people between 2010 and 2012. Participants/materials, setting, methodsTrans-identified volunteers (and their partners, when applicable) who had used or attempted to access AR services since 2007 from across Ontario, Canada, participated in a 60–90 minute, semi-structured qualitative interview. Qualitative analysis was performed using a descriptive phenomenological approach. Emerging themes were continually checked against the data as part of an iterative process. Main results and the role of chance: The data highlight barriers to accessing AR services for trans people. Participant recommendations for improving AR service provision to better meet the needs of this population are presented. These recommendations address the following areas: (i) AR service provider education and training; (ii) service provider and clinic practices and (iii) clinic environment. Limitations, reasons for cautionThe majority of study participants were trans people who identified as men and who resided in major urban areas; those living in smaller communities may have different experiences that were not adequately captured in this analysis. Wider implications of the findings: While existing literature debates the ethics of assisting trans people to become parents through the use of AR, our study demonstrates that they are already accessing or attempting to access these services. This reality necessitates a shift toward exploring the ways in which AR services can be improved to better meet the needs of this population, from the perspectives of both service users and service providers.

Other Related Resources:

Reproductive Options for Trans People (This fact sheet could not have been possible without the following people: The trans people and their partners who participated in the Creating our Families (COF) study, the COF Research Team, in particular datejie green and Stu Marvel, the COF Advisory Committee, in particular Nicole Nussbaum, the Trans people and Reproductive Options Working Group and the Fact Sheet sub-group. Fact Sheet Authors: Ayden Scheim, Margaret Robinson, Scott Anderson. Community and service provider reviewers: j wallace, Chris Veldhoven, Robin Fern, Sherbourne Health Centre’s Trans Health Work Group, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Clinical Team)

Access to Assisted Human Reproduction Services (AHR) for Trans People in Ontario, S. James-Abra (MSW Thesis, University of Toronto)

Guidelines and Protocols for Hormone Therapy and Primary Health CareDr. Amy Bourns (Rainbow Health Ontario, Sherbourne Health Centre)

Transforming Family: Trans Parents and their Struggles, Strategies, and Strengths, J. Pyne (A report that describes the strengths that trans and genderqueer parents bring to parenting, and presents recommendations to social service, legal, and educational institutions to address some of the needs identified by participants)

Transphobia and Other Stressors Impacting Trans Parents, J. Pyne, G. Bauer, & K. Bradley (Academic article with data from the Trans PULSE Project in the Journal of GLBT Family Studies)

March 2016 Update: Trans Men Need the Competent Fertility Care I Never Got, A. Abramovich (An article by my friend and colleague Alex Abramovich in which he describes his (poor) fertility care experience, in The Advocate)


*Trans is an umbrella term referring to people who do not embrace traditional binary gender norms of masculine and feminine and/or whose gender identity or expression does not fit with the one they were assigned at birth; can refer to transgender, transitioned and transsexual people, among others.

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