Children’s Hospital Recommends Costly ‘Fertility Preservation’ for Kids Undergoing Gender Transitions
Seattle Children’s Hospital promotes expensive fertility preservation methods for children undergoing cross-sex treatments at its facilities, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which Seattle Children’s offers to children as young as 13 and a half years old, can severely and permanently limit patients’ fertility, a fact the institution admits in multiple documents. The hospital offers and promotes fertility preservation options, including for prepubescent children, according to its website, which can cost well over $10,000.
“What continues to astonish about so-called gender affirming care is the readiness of these academic institutions such as Seattle Children’s Hospital to place faith in the ability of these troubled children to make the most complex decisions about their health that one can imagine,” Stanley Goldfarb, former associate dean for curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and current chair of Do No Harm, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “At a time when these children cannot drive a car, vote, or drink alcohol, they are expected to consider whether they will ever wish to have children and whether they are willing to engage in the complexities of fertility treatments later in life.”
Seattle Children’s Fertility Preservation Program educates patients about the impact of their treatments on fertility and refers them for fertility preservation both within and outside of the hospital, according to the hospital’s website.
“We are the only hospital in our region to offer ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OTC), a way to remove and freeze immature eggs so they can be used later in life. This makes fertility preservation possible for patients who have not yet gone through puberty and for those who cannot delay treatment to ripen and freeze their eggs,” the hospital boasts.
As one of the only institutions in our region to offer ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OTC), Seattle Children’s Fertility Preservation Program is proud to work with @SRMFertility to expand our OTC services to patients undergoing medical treatment. https://t.co/LP8McB9Vst https://t.co/DRHF1uAUw4
— Seattle Children's (@seattlechildren) June 15, 2022
Moreover, the hospital explicitly acknowledged that its gender transition treatments, including hormones and, in some cases, puberty blockers, could sterilize prepubescent children, and advised patients to undergo fertility preservation before transitioning.
“The degree to which fertility is impacted depends on where a patient is in puberty prior to initiation of puberty blockers,” the hospital’s website says. “For patients who are interested in fertility preservation, this should ideally be completed prior to starting puberty blockers.”
In addition to offering puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children as young as 13 and a half, Seattle Children’s offers a long list of “gender-affirming” surgeries to “teens and young adults” typically in their “mid-teens or older,” though it does not offer genital surgeries to minors, according to its website. Its surgical offerings include “top surgery,” a euphemism for mastectomies and breast construction, as well as chin surgery, lower jaw surgery, a surgery to reduce the appearance of one’s Adam’s apple, body contouring, forehead augmentation, facial fat grafting, cheek augmentation and rhinoplasty.
There is no way to preserve fertility for prepubescent boys, the hospital admits on its website. The hospital does not require fertility preservation for children undergoing potentially sterilizing procedures, but informs patients that it’s common for transgender adults to wish they had preserved their fertility.
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“It is perfectly fine if you do not want children or are not sure yet. Some people change their minds about wanting to be a parent, so you might want to consider saving sperm or eggs just in case,” a guidance document from the hospital says. “When asked, transgender adults say that they wish they had preserved their sperm or eggs, or wish that their doctor had at least talked to them about it.”
Insurance typically does not cover fertility preservation, meaning patients will have to pay out of pocket, according to hospital guidance. Egg freezing costs $10,000 to $15,0000 plus another $300 to $500 annually for egg storage, while sperm banking costs $500 to $1,000 on top of annual storage fees of $140 to $500, according to hospital guidance which cited the Alliance for Fertility Preservation.
Advocates of childhood gender transitions sometimes downplay fertility risks by pointing to advancements in fertility technology and the possibility of adopting children down the road, as well as by suggesting that children can know at a young age whether or not they want biological children.
“Questions about fertility, these are important ones that we discuss with patients and families early on and often. What’s interesting is that the field of assisted reproductive technology is rapidly evolving and our understanding of the impacts of these medications on biological fertility are also evolving,” Nadia Dowshen, co-founder of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), said in 2020 testimony to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health Committee.
CHOP recommends puberty blockers for children with gender identity issues as young as 8, a previous DCNF investigation found.
“I also want to take a step back for a second to say that … there are other ways to build families beyond having a child biologically. Folks can adopt as well, and many transgender children and adolescents are interested in having biological children and many are not interested in having children at all or are interested in adopting,” she said.
Seattle Children’s Hospital did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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