Equality watchdog drops lawsuit against NHS over trans fertility rights

Trans rights advocates march at Glasgow Pride, 14 July 2018 equality

The UK’s equality watchdog has dropped a legal case against the National Health Service (NHS) for failing to provide fertility treatment to trans patients.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had announced legal action against the NHS in September last year.

The commission had argued that not offering fertility treatments to patients restricts their options for reproduction discriminated against transgender patients.

However, the EHRC agreed to drop the lawsuit following further discussions with the NHS, The Telegraph reports.

A spokesperson for the NHS said it was ‘pleased’ that the EHRC had dropped its claims, saying that the lawsuit was ‘without merit’.

‘Very disappointing’

The EHRC had initially argued that by not offering fertility treatment to trans patients who were undergoing gender affirmation treatment, the NHS was infringing on their rights to conceive at a later date.

Undergoing gender affirmation treatment usually makes trans patients infertile.

By storing eggs or sperm, this would give transgender patients the option of having biological children via surrogacy later in life.

The commission had said that many trans patients, particularly in among teenagers undergoing treatment for gender dysphoria, may not have the resources to pay for egg or sperm storage.

It is already standard for patients with conditions, such as cancer, which could make them infertile to be offered such fertility treatment.

‘Our laws and our values protect those who seek treatment for gender dysphoria,’ Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the EHRC, said when the commission was still exploring legal options.

‘This means that where appropriate, treatment should be made available in order to ensure that access to health services is free of discrimination.

‘A choice between treatment for gender dysphoria and the chance to start a family is not a real choice.’

Dr Jane Hamlin, President of trans support group The Beaumont Society, said it was ‘very disappointing’ that the EHRC’s case was being dropped.

‘Trans people do not ask for special treatment – merely to enjoy the same rights as everyone else,’ Dr Hamlin said.

‘Sadly, we have become accustomed to being treated as second-class citizens when we just want to experience family life like our friends and relatives.’

Review of fertility laws

The discussion over trans patients’ rights comes amid calls for a review of fertility laws by the UK’s most senior family court judge.

Recently a trans man was able to access a sperm donor 10 days after legally completing his gender transition.

After becoming pregnant, the trans man took his case to the high court in order to be listed as ‘father’ on his child’s birth certificate.

After hearing the case, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, requested that the Health Secretary review the rights of trans men to access fertility treatment.

It also comes at a time when a record number of teenagers in the UK are seeking treatment for gender dysphoria.

In under ten years, the number of girls seeking treatment has seen a 4,400% increase, with 1,806 seeking treatment in 2017. This is compared to only 40 girls seeking treatment in 2009.

Last year, Penny Mordaunt, the minister for women and equalities, launched an inquiry into the role of social media and education on transgender issues in schools.

Author: Calum Stuart

The post Equality watchdog drops lawsuit against NHS over trans fertility rights appeared first on Gay Star News.

Trans men maintain functioning ovaries after a year on testosterone


Trans men appear to have functioning ovaries even taking testosterone injections for a year, a new study has found.

The findings could be important news for trans people who wish to conceive while undergoing gender affirmation treatment.

The findings come from medical investigators at the Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center in Israel.

‘Our research shows for the first time that after one year of testosterone treatment, ovary function is preserved to a degree that may allow reproduction,’ said Yona Greenman, lead investigator of the study.

‘This information is important for transgender men and their partners who desire to have their own children,’ Greenman said, according to Devdiscourse.

Within the normal range for fertility after testosterone treatment 

Researchers conducted a study of 52 transgender men between the ages of 17 and 40.

The trans men were monitored for 12 months after the began taking testosterone injections.

The doctors then accessed the complete results of 32 of the subjects.

Though the researchers found that the level of the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) diminished after 12 months, the hormone still remained within the normal range for fertility.

The level of AMH is used as an indicator of the so-called ovarian reserve and allows doctors to access the remaining egg supply.

While this is a small sample of the overall trans community, such studies on the effects testosterone injections have on reproductive abilities remain rare.

The researchers will present their findings at the Endocrine Society in New Orleans this weekend.

Author: Calum Stuart

The post Trans men maintain functioning ovaries after a year on testosterone appeared first on Gay Star News.