Egg Retrieval and IVF for Trans* Guys
Interested in having biological children but unsure about carrying them yourself? Have a womb-bearing partner willing to carry your children? IVF may be for you! It’s a big maybe though, since it’s a rather expensive and invasive procedure, but it can give you something a lot of trans* guys desire but fear they may never be able to have- biological children without the process of pregnancy.
Basically with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) one would have their eggs extracted and fertilized outside of the body and then implanted into a uterus. Generally this procedure is utilized by heterosexual couples who have difficulty conceiving, and so the fertilized egg would be placed into the uterus of the person who donated the egg (although sometimes the egg is a donor egg and so this is not the case), however it has also been used by lesbians and transgender men who wish to be genetically related to the child their partner carries. In certain cases, this procedure is also used for couples who are hiring a surrogate.
This is a pretty complicated procedure that involves several steps, particularly for couples that don’t have any sperm on hand. Basically you’re going to need sperm, eggs, and a womb, and in the case of most straight trans* guys each of these components is going to come from a different person. Finding a sperm donor in of itself can be a challenge, but assuming you’ve done that the next major thing you have to worry about is egg extraction. Basically in order to get your eggs extracted you would need to lay off the testosterone a little while (just as if you were trying to get pregnant, you’d need to be off HRT for somewhere between 4 months to a year) and get injections of hormones that will force your eggs to mature. They will then be harvested while you are sedated. A more detailed description of the process can be found here.
The egg is then fertilized in a petri dish and inserted into your partner’s (or a surrogate’s) uterus. Often multiple embryos are implanted at once. This is actually how Jon and Kate ended up with so many children, but these days it is far more likely that only two or three embryos will be implanted at a time instead of five or six. If the procedure is successful, though, it does up your chances of having twins. It is also possible to freeze your eggs if you do not want to immediately use them (for instance if you decide to get them extracted before you start testosterone). Doctors prefer freezing embryos to eggs because there is a higher success rate with embryo freezing, so this is something to keep in mind.
This is obviously not for everybody. Plenty of transguys would be deeply uncomfortable with one or more of these stages, and it usually ranges between 10,000-15,000 dollars in price (sometimes more), which isn’t exactly affordable for many people. However for some guys this is an excellent option that is worth looking into. Its difficult to find resources for non female identified egg donors, but more information about IVF and egg extraction can be found at Fertility Connect and Infertility Resources. A step-by-step guide to IVF can be found here. As always, we are not medical professionals and you should consult with your doctor before planning for or undergoing IVF.