Written By: Dr. Sheeva Talebian, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at CCRM Fertility of New York.
Who is a transgender man?
A transgender man is an individual who was assigned female at birth based on their physical characteristics but identifies and lives as a man. While their assigned sex at birth may be female, their gender identity, which is deeply felt and experienced, aligns with being male.
Gender identity is a deeply personal and internal sense of being male, female, or another gender, and it may not necessarily align with the sex assigned at birth. Transgender men often go through a process called transition, which can include social, medical, and legal steps to align their physical appearance, gender expression, and legal documentation with their true gender identity.
Socially, transgender men may choose to change their name, pronouns, and presentation to better reflect their gender identity. Some may undergo hormone therapy, such as testosterone, to induce secondary sex characteristics like facial hair growth and a deepening of the voice. Others may pursue surgeries, such as chest reconstruction or genital reconstruction, to align their physical body with their gender identity.
It is important to respect and recognize transgender men as the gender they identify with, using their preferred name and pronouns. By doing so, we contribute to creating a more inclusive and accepting society that values and affirms the experiences and identities of transgender individuals.
Can a trans man become pregnant?
Trans men, who were assigned female at birth but identify as men, can indeed become pregnant. While some trans men may undergo hormonal treatments, such as testosterone therapy, not all choose to undergo surgical procedures to remove their reproductive organs. If a trans man retains his uterus and ovaries and stops or suspends hormone therapy, pregnancy is possible.
The use of hormones, particularly testosterone, can impact the process of pregnancy for trans men. Testosterone therapy can lead to the halting of menstruation and the thickening of the endometrial lining in the uterus. These changes can affect fertility and increase the risk of certain complications during pregnancy. However, it is important to note that the impact of testosterone on fertility varies among individuals, and some trans men may still be able to conceive even while taking hormones.
While the process of becoming pregnant as a trans man can come with unique challenges, it is possible with proper care and support. This is where CCRM can play a crucial role.
CCRM is one of the industry’s leading pioneers in fertility treatment, research, and science, offering access to a national network of award-winning physicians, a full suite of fertility services, innovative technology, and cutting-edge labs. CCRM recognizes the diversity of individuals’ reproductive needs and ensures that trans men receive comprehensive and inclusive care throughout the process of pregnancy.
CCRM can support trans men in numerous ways:
- Fertility Assessment and Planning: CCRM can provide a thorough fertility assessment to understand an individual’s reproductive health and potential challenges. They can help develop a personalized plan that considers hormone therapy, fertility preservation options, and the individual’s goals for starting a family.
- Hormone Management: CCRM can work collaboratively with trans men and their healthcare providers to manage hormone therapy during the fertility journey. This involves carefully balancing hormone levels to support a healthy pregnancy while considering the individual’s gender-affirming needs.
- Emotional and Mental Health Support: CCRM recognizes the importance of emotional and mental well-being during pregnancy. They can provide access to counseling services and support groups to address any concerns, anxieties, or challenges that may arise.
- Education and Resources: CCRM can offer educational resources and guidance to trans men and their support networks. This includes information on transitioning and fertility options to ensure individuals and their families feel informed and empowered throughout the journey.
- Collaboration with Healthcare Providers: CCRM can collaborate with other healthcare providers involved in the individual’s care, such as endocrinologists, to ensure coordinated and comprehensive support throughout the fertility journey.
For trans men, fertility options include egg and/or embryo freezing (cryopreservation), using his partner’s sperm or donor sperm. Trans men may undergo intrauterine insemination using partner or donor sperm or may require in vitro fertilization (IVF) using his own, a partner or donor eggs. Embryos may be transferred into his own uterus, his partner’s uterus or into a gestational surrogate.
How Pregnancy Culture Can Be More Inclusive to Trans People
Creating a more inclusive pregnancy culture for trans people involves recognizing and respecting their unique experiences and needs throughout the journey. Here are some key areas to consider:
- Language and Terminology:
- Avoid assumptions: Instead of assuming someone’s gender identity or using gender-specific language, use neutral terms like “pregnant person” or “expectant parent.”
- Use inclusive terminology: Replace gendered terms like “mother” and “father” with terms like “parent,” “gestational parent,” or “co-parent” to acknowledge the diverse ways people form families.
- Normalize diverse experiences: Recognize that not all pregnancies result from heterosexual relationships or involve individuals who identify as women. Acknowledge and validate the experiences of transgender men, non-binary individuals, and gender-diverse people who can also become pregnant.
- Maternity Clothing and Healthcare:
- Provide gender-neutral options: Offer a range of maternity clothing that is inclusive and does not reinforce binary gender norms. This can include designs that accommodate various body types and sizes.
- Educate healthcare providers: Healthcare professionals should receive training on providing inclusive care to trans individuals, including knowledge about hormone therapy and potential interactions with pregnancy.
- Tailor healthcare services: Develop protocols that address the specific needs of trans people during pregnancy, such as discussing hormone therapy adjustments or providing mental health support related to gender dysphoria.
- Pregnancy Announcements and Baby Showers:
- Gender-neutral announcements: Encourage the use of gender-neutral pregnancy announcements that focus on celebrating the arrival of a child rather than assuming or revealing the baby’s gender.
- Inclusive baby showers: Avoid gendered themes and decorations. Instead, focus on celebrating the new parents or expectant parents and creating an inclusive space for all attendees.
- Support and Community:
- Trans-inclusive support groups: Establish support groups specifically designed for trans individuals who are pregnant or planning to conceive. These groups can provide a safe and understanding environment to share experiences, challenges, and resources.
- Normalize diversity: Feature diverse stories and experiences in pregnancy-related media, websites, and social media platforms to help break down stereotypes and foster a more inclusive understanding of pregnancy.
- Policy and Legal Considerations:
- Advocate for trans-inclusive policies: Work with healthcare organizations, government agencies, and advocacy groups to promote policies that protect the rights and dignity of trans people throughout the pregnancy process.
- Recognize legal parentage: Ensure that legal frameworks for parental rights and recognition reflect the diverse realities of families, including those formed by trans individuals.
Overall, creating a more inclusive pregnancy culture for trans people requires a collective effort from individuals, communities, healthcare providers, and policymakers to challenge existing norms and create spaces where all experiences are acknowledged and respected.
How Family & Friends Can Support Pregnant Transmen and Non-Binary People
Supporting pregnant trans men and non-binary people is crucial to ensuring their well-being and affirming their identities. Here are some examples of how family and friends can provide support:
- Educate yourself: Take the initiative to learn about transgender and non-binary experiences, including the unique challenges faced by pregnant individuals within these communities. Educating yourself will enable you to better understand their needs and experiences.
- Use affirming language: Respect the individual’s gender identity and use their preferred pronouns and chosen name consistently throughout their pregnancy. This simple act can go a long way in showing support and validating their identity.
- Validate their feelings: Pregnancy can bring about complex emotions for anyone, and it’s essential to create a safe and non-judgmental space for the pregnant person to express their feelings. Let them know that their emotions are valid and that you are there to listen without judgment.
- Provide practical assistance: Offer practical support in everyday tasks that may become more challenging during pregnancy. This could involve helping with household chores, grocery shopping, or running errands. Offering a helping hand can alleviate stress and allow them to focus on their well-being.
- Be a source of emotional support: Pregnancy can be an emotional journey, and having a supportive network is invaluable. Be there to listen, provide a shoulder to lean on, and offer words of encouragement. Let them know they have someone to turn to during both the highs and lows of their pregnancy.
- Advocate for their needs: Use your voice to stand up for the rights and needs of pregnant trans men and non-binary people. This may involve challenging discriminatory practices, advocating for inclusive healthcare, or supporting their choices when faced with societal biases or stigmatization.
- Respect privacy and boundaries: Every individual has their own comfort levels regarding sharing personal information. Respect their privacy and allow them to decide how much they want to share about their pregnancy and gender identity. Do not assume they are comfortable with disclosing personal details without their consent.
- Offer resources and information: Share relevant resources, such as LGBTQ+-friendly healthcare providers, support groups, or online communities where they can connect with others who have similar experiences. Providing access to information can empower them to make informed decisions and find additional support networks.
- Attend medical appointments if desired: Offer to accompany them to medical appointments if they would like a support person present. This can provide reassurance and help navigate any potential challenges they may face in healthcare settings.
- Celebrate and include them: Include the pregnant individual in celebrations, gatherings, and activities related to pregnancy. Try to create an inclusive and welcoming environment where they can share in the joy of this special time while feeling fully accepted and respected.
Remember that supporting pregnant trans men and non-binary people should be an ongoing process that requires active listening, empathy, and respect. Tailor your support to their individual needs and always prioritize their well-being and autonomy.
For the best fertility care tailored to the needs of trans men and the LGBTQ+ community, consider visiting your local CCRM Fertility center. CCRM is known for its expertise in providing inclusive and comprehensive fertility services, including specialized care for transgender individuals. CCRM supports all diverse family-building journeys and can offer personalized guidance and treatments to help you achieve your fertility goals. CCRM’s primary goal is to help couples and individuals build families. There are many ways to do this, and we have expertise in a variety of areas to help you achieve your dreams.