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Transgender patient freezes eggs: "I'm meant to be a dad"

For transgender men and women, having children is fraught with complicated issues heterosexual couples don’t have to think about.

One transgender person recently shared a personal story with CBS Los Angeles reporter Pat Harvey about the hope of one day becoming a parent.

“Renee” immigrated to the United States six months ago and asked to remain anonymous, sharing a concern that coming out as transgender would have serious repercussions back home, where “being a transgender person is more than enough to fire you, to persecute you, to bully you.”

Though born with the anatomy of a girl, from the age of 5 — “The first moment of my conscious life, I would say” — Renee felt like a boy. Renee recently started taking testosterone to help with the transformation from female to male and plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery in about a month. 

But that doesn’t have to mean giving up on the idea of having a child someday. Before hormone therapy began, a fertility specialist was able to harvest and freeze Renee’s eggs.

“I need to do this to be able to feel happy,” Renee told Harvey. “This is extremely important to me.”

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, Renee’s doctor at the Fertility Institutes of Encino, said once a person starts taking male hormones – gender reassignment therapy – the ovaries shut down and egg production stops, so now is the time to remove the eggs.

“Once fertility is gone, it’s gone,” Steinberg said. “Having eggs frozen is certainly the only way he will have a genetic link to the baby.”

Collecting the eggs requires taking high doses of female hormones for weeks and then undergoing a procedure to remove them from the womb.

Steinberg successfully harvested 27 eggs in all, and the most viable ones were frozen. “They will outlive all of us,” Dr. Steinberg said.

Renee looks forward to completing the transition, and to one day finding a partner who will want to carry his child.

The journey has not been easy, but “I know who I am and I am meant to be a father, be a dad.”

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