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Study Reveals Transgender Women Can Become Fertile

People belonging to the transgender community often battle for their body for years. But, thanks to the researchers, they are finding novel ways to preserve fertility in transgender women and it won't be wrong to say that even transgender women can produce sperm in the near future. Even though there are no accurate results that point to the fact that women from the transgender community can produce viable sperm, but a study says that it is possible after few months of discontinuing puberty-halting medication.

A study was conducted by Magee-Womens Research Institute in collaboration with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital clinicians and researchers of UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. The experiment revealed that one transgender woman was able to produce viable sperm after discontinuing her puberty-halting medication. But, the other transgender woman who was on hormone therapy discovered sperm production was not possible during the time, even though she could psychologically tolerate being off her medication. The study was published in the Journal of Pedriatics.

"We were interested in examining the timeline for getting viable sperm after stopping the masculinity-suppressing medication," said lead author Hanna Valli-Pulaski, a research assistant professor at MWRI. In a university news release, Hanna mentioned, "Going on and off gender-affirming medications can cause psychological distress in this population and it's important patients have a discussion with their health care provider before starting or stopping any treatment".

What The Research Revealed?

To study, researchers examined medical reports of two transgender women who tried to conserve their sperm after starting and then discontinuing the gender-affirming hormone treatment. Later, they compared their semen with the semen of eight other transgender women, who preserved their sperm at the beginning of the therapy.

All the participants were young adults selected from the Fertility Preservation Program, Pittsburgh between 2015 and 2018.

Among them, one of the patients was on drug Lupron, which is a sex hormone blocker that restricts the capability of reproduction at puberty, if taken in adolescence. But, she had to stop the intake of Lupron for the trial of sperm cryopreservation.

It was noticed that after five months of stopping the use of drugs, her body was able to produce the sperm similar to the one produced by those eight transgender women at the beginning of the treatment.

This successful outcome has given these transgender women hope that they can again be fertile and will be able to produce sperm. But the sad part is, stopping the masculinity-suppressing medications can affect their mental health. It can cause symptoms like growth in their facial hair and deepen of their voice within a few months for their drug halt. However, the process can again be reversed but it may take more time than before, mentioned Valli-Pulaski.

No Guarantee Of Sperm Production

The same study also revealed that in the case of second transgender women, she was taking estradiol and spironolactone for more than 24 months, and four months after discontinuing the treatment, the patient was not able to produce sperms. As a result, she stopped trying for fertility preservation treatment and shifted to gender reassignment surgery.

This study also proved that fertility may not always return quickly after going off gender-affirming drugs.

"Right now, there's not much information available about fertility preservation for transgender patients. The study provides valuable information for researchers, clinicians and patients. If you have any data, it's important to share so that patients, researchers and clinicians can learn from it." Valli-Pulaski added.