That could be avoided if, instead of using hormones to stimulate the person’s ovaries to release mature eggs, doctors could remove pieces of the ovaries themselves and somehow put mature eggs in the lab. to get. This would involve taking immature eggs and seducing them in their development, up to the stage where they can be fertilized by sperm.
This has already been achieved in some people who have survived cancer. Some cancer treatments are toxic, especially to eggs and sperm. Adults are often advised to store healthy eggs or sperm before starting these treatments. But that’s not an option for kids who haven’t gone through puberty yet.
However, if children have parts of their ovaries removed, some clinics have been able to use this tissue to later generate mature eggs and fertilize them with sperm, implanting the resulting embryo back into those same people when they reach adulthood. The technique seems to be working and healthy babies have been born. Last year, three US-based reproductive medicine associations issued: a statement concluding that the technique should no longer be considered experimental.
The technique hasn’t been used to help transgender people have babies yet, but Christodouaki and her colleagues think so. To find out, they tried the approach in ovaries donated by trans men.
The team started with ovaries donated by 14 transgender men, ages 18 to 24, whose organs had been removed as part of their gender-affirming treatment. All participants had been on testosterone therapy for an average of 26 months, and some also took a drug to prevent them from menstruating.
First, the team removed eggs that were days away from the ovary. The team repeated the process with equally immature eggs donated by cisgender women. After 48 hours in a laboratory dish, the eggs were ready to be fertilized with sperm.
In both cases, about half of the immature eggs were successfully matured in the lab. But something seemed to go wrong when the team tried to fertilize the eggs with sperm. While 84% of cisgender women’s eggs could be fertilized, this was only about 45% in trans men.
By the time the embryos were five days old — the point at which they would normally be transferred into a person’s womb — only 2% of embryos generated from trans male eggs were alive, compared with 25% of embryos from cis. -women’s eggs.