- A new study reveals that transgender women can produce viable sperm, but the results are still uncertain.
- Scientists studied the cases of two transgender women who attempted to reclaim their fertility after starting and stopping sex-altering medications.
- The study tried to determine an estimated timeline for producing viable sperm after stopping masculine suppressing medications.
- The study results point to potential conclusions, they show that sperm production is viable in transgender women but not always.
This study was carried out by a research team at Magee-Women’s Research Institute (MWRI), cooperating with clinicians at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital. The research, published in pediatrics, studied the case report of two transgender women who decided to recover their fertility after starting and stopping their gender-affirming medications.
The scientists’ aim was to find out if transgender women who take gender affirmation drugs still have the ability to produce sperms, and also, they were interested in evaluating the timeline for getting viable sperm- months after stopping with their gender-affirming medications.
The scientists evaluated the medical records of two transgender women that wanted to preserve their sperm after halting hormone therapy, and have their sperm quality compared against eight other transgender women who volunteered to maintain their semen before activating treatment. All study participants are from the Fertility Preservation Program in Pittsburgh, which occurred from 2015 to 2018 as young adults.
One of the transgender women who volunteered to preserve their semen after activating her therapy was taking the drug Lupron before she stopped. Lupron is a sex hormone blocker drug which stops puberty when administered in adolescence for six months.
She was able to produce a sperm sample which can be compared to that which was collected from the eight other transgender women who preserved their sperm before undergoing medication.
The second result, which was from the other transgender woman shows that fertility doesn’t quickly return after halting gender-affirming medications. The second patient has been taking spironolactone and estradiol for about two years. However, after four months of terminating treatment, she wasn’t still able to produce sperm, and she decided to stop trying to recover her fertility and continue with her medications because it is a tremendous psychological process.
- The study only evaluated two cases, and further research needs to be carried out with transgender women from different ethnic backgrounds so we can understand the process fully.
- As the study team mentioned, transgender women who stopped taking gender-affirming drugs can produce sperm, but it is not guaranteed.