Access to fertility services by transgender persons An Ethics Committee opinion

This statement explores the provision of fertility services to transgender persons.

Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Volume 104, Issue 5, Pages 1111-1115


This statement explores the ethical considerations surrounding the provision of fertility services to transgender individuals and concludes denial of access to fertility services is not justified.

  • Timothy F. Murphy

    The ASRM Ethics Committee offers a strong defense of offering clinical assistance to transgender people wishing to have children. It does so in part by defending cross-sex identities against the label of ‘pathology.’ The Committee notes that neither the American Psychiatric Association nor the American Psychological
    Association any longer consider cross-sex identification in itself as evidence of a disorder. Not only that, but the Committee points to research that shows that “transgender persons can be highly educated, stably employed, sustain long-term partnered relationships” and that “they do not exhibit mental disorders more often than any other group.”

    I will point out, however, that even if one considers cross-sex identification as a disorder in some sense, it does not follow that the disorder would by itself disqualify transgender people as parents. By itself, cross-sex identification is a very narrow ‘disorder” in the sense that it involves one’s interpretation of one’s sex. Transgender people need not otherwise have any cognitive or emotional deficits. Certainly, it does not follow from the mere fact of a cross-sex gender identification that anyone would be unable to understand the nature or consequences of parenting, any more than certain other psychiatric/psychological disorders disqualify people as parents. Unless there were some other disease/disorder present, someone with the ‘disorder’ of a cross-sex identity could still very well-qualify as a responsible and able parent. Even under the older designation of cross-sex identities as disorders, some of the people with those disorders were—after all—“highly educated, stably employed,” and in “long-term relationships.”

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