My wife and I did not think about growing our family more before she started hormones. Our first priority was to get her on hormones as soon as possible for her mental health. Hindsight being 20/20, things would have been much easier baby wise now if we had thought this through a bit more.
If you have a little forethought before medically transitioning (starting hormones), you can bank or freeze your swimmers or eggs.
For Transmen, freezing eggs is an extremely involved process that involves working closely with a fertility doctor. It can take many months, fertility medications, and lots of money (like $10,000). Even then, the eggs may not be viable. Check out this interesting read from HuffPost.
Transwomen may have a little easier time banking sperm but it still involves multiple visits, tests, and money ($1,000 to $3,000 initial investment followed by annual storage fees). And just like transwomen, the sperm must be plentiful and viable to use later. There is a useful FAQ about the banking process here.
Years ago, before we met, Michelle banked one time before she started chemotherapy. In our quest to have another child, the amount frozen over ten years ago was just not enough for a fertility professional to ethically work with.
Either way, transman or transwoman, someone must carry the little one (a partner or a surrogate). Another thing to think about…
Banking and Dysphoria:
Like I mentioned before, we were so focused on getting Michelle the medical help she needed that we didn’t think about banking sperm for future use. Also, I feel like the physical act of banking would intensify gender dysphoria in the transgender partner while he/she is waiting to receive the medical attention needed to cope with the dysphoria.
So maybe it is a good thing that we didn’t think this one through.
Going Off Hormones:
Also, some couples decide to make a baby during the transition when both partners agree that the transgender partner will stop hormone therapy. However, doing this can be extremely detrimental to the trans partner’s mental and physical health. I assume it would be like roller coaster: riding an emotional high of finally feeling like your true self and then plummeting into a depression when the hormones stop. And it is only available to those transgender partners who have not completed a full medical transition (bottom surgery).
Michelle told me a few months ago that she heard stories online of husbands and wives asking their trans partners to stop the medications to procreate. While I understand the deep desire to grow our family, I will not ask Michelle to do that at the expense of her health.
For now, we are researching other options. I will let you know what happens.