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How to Preserve Your Fertility Before Transitioning

December 19, 2017
Katie Visco

Are you transitioning from male to female? After making one of the biggest decisions of your life, you might be feeling overwhelmed. But since you have already proven yourself fearless in making tough choices, here is another question to consider: do you want to have a biological child? 

A biological child certainly isn't part of everybody's game plan. Maybe you already have kids or you are planning to adopt. But if any part of you wants to answer yes to that question, there is a way to preserve your future fertility: freeze your sperm before transitioning. 

Many people might see sperm freezing as a viable option. Young men who are being treated for cancer might consider sperm freezing to protect their fertility. Learn more about the process of freezing your sperm here! 

How exactly does that work? 

Since the 1960s, sperm freezing has been an option for preserving fertility. Sperm is collected and mixed with a freezing medium that contains cryoprotectants. The mixture is then frozen using liquid nitrogen, labeled, and stored for future use (the current permitted storage time is ten years). 

If you decide to use your sperm, it will be thawed and can be used for artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

How successful is frozen sperm in making a baby? 

The success rate of using frozen sperm to conceive depends on a multitude of factors. When comparing the use of fresh or frozen sperm, no difference was found in the number of live births or rates of pregnancy. While freezing sperm does not guarantee you a baby, it does expand your options when planning for a family. 

What if I've already started transitioning? 

If you already started treatment but wish to preserve your fertility, talk to your doctor about your options. It is recommended that you stop treatment for at least 90 days before attempting to bank your sperm. This gives your body time to resume normal sperm production. 

Transitioning is an extremely stressful period of any person's life. Whether you currently have plans to have biological children or not, it's important to stay informed about your options. Discuss your plans with your doctor. 

If you are emotionally struggling during this time, realize that you are not alone. Talking to a professional or even visiting online support groups could help you get through this period. Stay strong! Remember, by staying educated about all of your options you are already ahead of the curve.

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