Tomorrow is the day I’ve been waiting so long for, which will see me finally receive a prescription for gender affirming hormones. Since the night I made the decision that this was the path I wanted to take the biggest challenge has been the patience required whilst waiting for appointments with appropriate medical professions to become available.
Armed with a letter from my Psychologist I was easily able to get an appointment to see a Sexual Health Physician who specialises in Trans issues. She has been very supportive and was confident that we would be able to work through her standard process in a couple of sessions instead of the usual 4-5. The first session went well, and I explained my history and the reasons for wanting to transition. Baseline pathology tests were done to measure my hormone levels and general health, and a follow up appointment was booked.
One of the points she wanted to make sure I understood very clearly was the affect that hormone treatment would have on my ability to be a biological parent. I was prepared for this conversation, having undertaken years of reading I knew: Testosterone blockers and Estrogen would effectively make me sterile, thus preventing me from having biological children.
The thoughts that stir in me still when I think about this usually have two things in common. Firstly, that being able to have biological children validates oneself through the ability to create the next generation and pass on genetic code. Secondly, that the first though is bullshit and that my ability to have children neither validates or invalidates who I am as a person and certainly does not determine my worth.
At 43 I’ve enjoyed the benefits of not raising children. Don’t get me wrong, I do want a family and have watched with a little jealousy as my brothers children have grown. There are times when I look at families and think how I would love to have one of my own. Then there are those times when I watch in sympathy at a mother trying to wrangle a tantrum throwing two year old whilst loading grocery bags in to the car, and I think to myself how good it is to have avoided tantrums and messy nappies, and sickness, and the expense of raising kids.
Having said that I’m a big believer in always having a Plan B. In this case my Plan B was to visit a fertility clinic and provide a sample of semen to be frozen. With storage costs at $500 per year this was an acceptable option on the off-chance that I met someone who wanted to reproduce with me. The plan was to make an appointment, go in to the clinic, do my thing, provide a sample for analysis and freezing and then with that backup plan in place I could move on with the next step in my journey and start on hormones.
Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. The day of my follow up appointment I was so excited about finally being able to start on hormones. The initial discussion went well and all was looking good until the Physician read the report from the fertility clinic.
Trying to explain the emotions I experienced when she read the words ‘sample unviable’ is difficult. I was surprised, disappointed and a little frustrated. But there was something deeper too, something that spoke from a dawning understanding that it was distinctly possibility that I may never have had the ability to have children. I always thought even though kids had never happened, that I did have the ability to make babies if the right opportunity presented itself with the right person. Now I’ve learned that this may never have been the case I feel … ripped off? short changed? indignant? Putting a finger on the exact emotions has been difficult.
We decided that day to not start hormone treatment, and instead I would attempt to produce a better quality sample (as if that was something I had any control over). The point being, that I was going to give it another shot and I’ll learn the result of that tomorrow. The report could go one of two ways. If the new sample contains viable sperm in sufficient quantity my Plan B will be in place and I’ll proceed with hormone treatment. Alternatively, if the sample was again unviable I’ll need to accept that having biological children was not ever possible for me, and I’ll proceed with hormone treatment knowing that I’d taken sensible steps to mitigate regrets and have the answers to questions that may be asked at a later date by family.
After my marriage failed I learned to accept that I may never have the opportunity to bring up children of my own. Whilst I’d be happy to take on someone else’s children if I’d met the right person, and should a biological child be born of that relationship then that would be a bonus. But with acceptance of a potential childless future has allowed me to focus on making a difference in my life and those whom I care about. The trips to the fertility clinic were never about having sperm available to guarantee biological children in the future. As always in life there are unknowns, and this process was about leaving open the choice for biological children ‘just in case’ my life took a path where that became an option.
So what now? I’ll find out for sure regarding the viability of that second sample tomorrow. And I’ll receive my prescription for hormones to help me reshape my masculine body into the more feminine one I’ve always wanted.
I can’t wait xx