Researchers at the Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center have discovered that after one year of treatment with testosterone, transgender men preserved their ovary function. This means that there is the potential that they may be able to participate in reproduction sometime in their future. This study provides some great news to transgender men and their partners who one day would like to have children of their own. This is an important study that will have repercussions in the greater transgender community as whole-- it means they have gone a further step forward in the fight for basic human rights such as choosing whether or not they want to have children.
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Transgender men often seek out testosterone therapy to affirm their physical appearance with their gender identity. This study analyzed 52 transgender men who had been receiving testosterone treatment for at least one year-- about two thirds of which had already expressed desire to have children one day, or were unsure. The men’s hormone levels were analyzed and they were given an ultrasound to see how the uterus had been impacted after 12 months of testosterone.
Researchers found that the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) was still within the normal range expected for fertility-- and the overall quantity of this hormone had only decreased slightly in this population even after testosterone. This was also coupled with the fact that their antral follicular count remained unchanged-- which indicates that their ovarian function was well preserved. A final thing to note from this study was that the thickness of the endometrium was also unchanged after testosterone therapy. A thick uterine lining is crucial to implantation and development of a fetus.
Transgender men start to take testosterone either via parenteral or transdermal preparations-- looking to gain male levels of testosterone. Transgender hormone therapy is a popular option because it allows transgender men to achieve the physical appearance of the gender they identify with. Now that this study has proven that their ovaries and uterus remain preserved enough for reproduction, it gives them the freedom to have children themselves or with a surrogate.
The long-term effects of testosterone on fertility are unknown, so it is still recommended that transgender men cease testosterone treatment around three months before beginning fertility treatment. Although there is still the need to investigate the effects of testosterone on egg quality and IVF embryos, this study has greater implications for the transgender community. It provides them with the choice to decide whether or not they want to have their own children with their partners-- a choice that they were unsure was theirs to make in the past.
This study has proven that transgender men retain their ovary function even after one year of testosterone treatment. This means that their ovaries and uterus may be able to sustain a pregnancy in the future. The greater implications for the transgender community are massive, and are a step closer to affirming the human rights of transgender people.