A three-parent technique could help trans men have babies

That could be avoided if instead of using hormones to stimulate the person’s ovaries to release mature eggs, doctors could remove the ovarian fragments themselves and somehow obtain mature eggs in the room. experiment. This will involve taking immature eggs and coaxing them during their development, to a stage where they can be fertilized by sperm.

This has been achieved in some cancer survivors. Some cancer treatments are very toxic, especially to eggs and sperm. Adults are often advised to store healthy eggs or sperm before they start these treatments. But that’s not an option for kids who haven’t gone through puberty.

However, if children have their ovaries removed, some clinics have been able to use this tissue to later create mature eggs and fertilize them with sperm, implanting the embryos back into the same people. when they mature. The technique seemed to work and healthy babies were born. Last year, three US-based reproductive medicine associations issued a statement concluding that the technique is no longer considered experimental.

The technique has not yet been used to help transgender people have children, but Christodoulaki and her colleagues believe it can. To find out, they tried the approach in ovaries donated by transgender men.

The team started with ovaries donated by 14 transgender men between the ages of 18 and 24, who had their organs removed as part of their sex-affirmation therapy. All participants had undergone testosterone therapy for an average of 26 months, and some were also taking a medication to stop their periods.

First, the team removed eggs that were days away from being released by the ovaries. The team repeated the process with similar immature eggs donated by transgender women. After 48 hours in the lab dish, the eggs appeared to be ready to be fertilized with sperm.

In both cases, about half of the immature eggs were successfully matured in the laboratory. But something went wrong when the team tried to fertilize the egg with sperm. While 84% of transgender women’s eggs can be fertilized, the number in transgender men is only about 45%.

By the time the embryos were 5 days old – the time when they would normally be transferred into a person’s uterus – only 2% of the embryos created from the eggs of a transgender man were still alive, compared with 25% of the embryos. from women’s eggs cis.

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