A trans-inclusive fertility clinic will be opening in Pittsburgh as early as next spring, offering sperm and egg donations, surrogacy services, in vitro fertilization, hormone therapy, and more.
According to Philadelphia Gay News, the clinic will be a partnership between the Allegheny Reproductive Health Center (ARHC) and Mate Fertility, a startup that seeks to provide fertility treatment to underserved communities. Dr. Sheila Ramgopal, who has worked as an OB-GYN at ARHC and provided gender-affirming care since 2015, told the publication that many of her clients have historically faced difficulties accessing fertility services, “both from an affordability perspective but also from a safety perspective.”
“Even the basics — going into a place where they feel safe and feel like they’re in an inclusive community, because a lot of providers don’t reflect those communities. A lot of the services are actually very tailored for, let’s say, affluent cis white women and heterosexual couples,” Ramgopal said. “For the nonbinary and trans community, there’s a massive gap in terms of all of us accessing care for fertility services.”
While people often only think of hormone replacement therapy and/or surgery when thinking of trans-specific healthcare, there’s been a growing awareness of the need for trans family planning services as well. Various startups, such as Legacy and Kindbody, have significantly reduced the cost of services such as sperm banking and egg freezing. They remain prohibitively expensive for many, though — although Legacy costs $145 a year, compared to $500 a year at a traditional fertility clinic, freezing your eggs with Kindbody costs anywhere from $6,450 to $7,500.
Cost and access have made traditional sperm and egg freezing burdensome for many trans people. New services could finally help close the gap.
In addition to creating inclusive spaces, the clinic also aims to offer services at one third to one half of the cost at other fertility centers, per PGN. “Our goal is to make this extremely accessible for people no matter where you’re coming from and what your financial picture is,” Ramgopal told the newspaper. “We know when we center the folks that aren’t able [to access] these services, everyone then gets the best care.”
Male Fertility CEO Traci Keen also emphasized that improving reproductive care for trans people would end up helping everyone in the end, including cis people undergoing hormone therapy. She told PGN that she had encountered both cis men and cis women going on testosterone without first consulting with a medical professional about fertility preservation.
“There’s a lot of different things that people aren’t getting educated on,” Keen said. “I think that there are some real luminaries in the field right now that do a good job of providing more access to high quality information. What we really want to be is that beacon for people where they can get information that’s tailored and appropriate for them.”
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Originally Appeared on them.