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Trans Feminine Fertility

Lesson 3 of 4

Resiliency Strategies For Trans Women

Video Lesson

Written Lesson

Areas of Support

As Samantha Jo-Dato shares, this process can be incredibly uncomfortable for someone whose identity is inextricably tied to their reflection in the mirror. Preparing for the sacrifices that will be part of the fertility process can help—from looking into free therapist support or support groups you might be able to access, to finding peer support.

In this video, we’ll cover specific resiliency strategies that can help you get through the fertility process, and navigate the medical system, as a trans woman.

There are three primary facets of psychological wellness that must be juggled in this process: support around gender identity, support around the fertility process, and bolstering a sense of personal safety.

Explaining Your Child's Story

People often wonder what they’ll tell their children about how they came to be. Luckily, there are now several great books you can read to your kids, at every stage of development, that can help them understand their origin story.

For example, one book called “What Makes A Baby” explains, in gender neutral terms, that there are three things required to make a baby—sperm, eggs, and a uterus—and that some bodies have some of those and some don’t. It’s a simple way to explain to your child the different people who helped to bring them into the world.

In speaking with psychologists, they make clear that the latest understanding of the best approach is to be honest and up front with your child from the time they are born. Historically, there was a desire to shelter children from their origin stories, but we now believe that does much more harm than good. Particularly in today’s world of consumer genetic testing, if a child is the result of third-party reproduction like donor sperm or donor egg, it’s very likely that they will eventually find out.

Parents of Trans People

In this video, Trystan gives advice for parents of trans people. A few key pieces of advice that he gives are:

Be patient with yourself. You had a vision from before your child was even born about who they might be, and a lot of that was probably tied up with gender. So don’t put pressure on yourself to feel a certain way. But go to therapy to work that out, and don’t expect your child to hold your hand through your stages of grief and letting go.

It’s ok to be a centering force for your child while still being supportive. Your child might want to do things really quickly, and one example is transitioning quickly without thinking about fertility preservation. It’s ok for you to say “I hear you, we’re going to get there, but everything can’t happen immediately and all at once.”

Bear witness to your child’s struggle. Let them know that you see and hear them.

Strategies for Self-Advocacy & Allyship

In this section of the video, you’ll see role-plays of different situations between a trans person and a stand-in for a medical provider.

You’ll see several self-advocacy strategies come up in these role plays. Here are a few:

  • Start any feedback with an appreciation or a positive note. This is a way to make sure the conversation doesn’t start off in a defensive place.
  • Tell them something very specific that went wrong. So instead of “your staff always…” just use one specific instance you can point to that they can correct — explain why that one incident was upsetting or inappropriate or could be read as transphobic.
  • Think about standing your ground politely. Getting activated emotionally can make a provider defensive and make it less likely that they’ll hear your out
  • Think about who your ally is in any given situation, and put that ally to work.
  • Inventing a hypothetical future trans person: sometimes it can be hard to say that something was hurtful or offensive to you. If that feels uncomfortable, you can always take some pressure off, and give your provider feedback by saying “X situation happened, and I’m ok, but I want you to know because if that happens to a trans person in the future, that could be really upsetting to them”

And remember—you don’t have to do everything on your own. It’s completely fine to invite a friend to come with you to appointments, and let them know ahead of time what you’ll expect in terms of support.

We hope the examples in the videos can be helpful to you as you envision how you can be an empowered advocate for yourself.

Fertility can be a challenging journey for everyone, and it’s normal to need assistance. Even though this process can be long, and emotional, as many trans people attest to in these videos, it really is worth it in the end!