Fertility preservation decision making amongst Australian transgender and non-binary adults
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Background: Historically, transitioning gender was seen as precluding transgender people from having children in the future. However, there are now increased reproductive options available to transgender people, with such options also available to non-binary people (i.e., people whose gender is not exclusively male or female). These options include undertaking fertility preservation if genetic children may be desired in the future. Despite these increased options, there is still only a limited amount of international research exploring the views of transgender and non-binary people on fertility preservation. Methods: This mixed-methods study draws on a convenience sample of Australian transgender and non-binary adults, focused on their decision making about fertility preservation. The questionnaire was constructed by the authors, drawing on previous research. Participants were recruited via Australian organisations and groups made up of and/or working with people who are transgender or non-binary. The questionnaire was open from January-February 2018. The final sample included 409 participants. Statistical analyses were conducted on the closed-ended responses. Open-ended responses were analysed via a conventional content analysis. Results: Decisions about fertility preservation were influenced by views on the importance of genetic relatedness, willingness to delay transition, economic resources, already having children or desiring children in the future, and the views of significant others. Advice or counselling prior to decision making was received only by a minority of participants. Very few participants (7%) had undertaken fertility preservation, although 95% said that fertility preservation should be offered to all transgender and non-binary people. Participants who viewed genetic relatedness as important were more likely to have undertaken fertility preservation. Conclusions: The findings indicate that fertility preservation should be made available as an option to all transgender or non-binary people prior to undertaking treatment which may impact on fertility. However, it should also be recognised that not all people who are transgender or non-binary will want to undertake fertility preservation, and that not all people may be able to afford to.
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