Many of our readers and consumers of our films know that we spend a lot of our time focusing on the ethics of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), keeping our eye on new technologies that are coming as well as supporting legislators with expert testimony that will help them with legislation they hope to pass. We shifted some of our efforts into the transgender debate when we learned that children are now being offered fertility preservation as part of their “affirmation treatment” plan.
I recently found a 3-page document produced by Seattle Children’s Hospital in WA titled, Fertility Preservation For Gender-Diverse Youth and Young Adults. Reading it I was flooded with feelings of sadness, shock and horror, and utter contempt for what pediatricians are now doing to children.
It is only 2 pages of information about fertility preservation with the last page being a list of agencies who offer fertility services including sperm and egg preservation. The readers of this document are told, “If you need additional referrals for fertility preservation clinics, please talk with the Gender Clinic Care Navigators.”
Remember early in the transing of children debate, the pro-trans lobby said things like, “we aren’t sterilizing children”? Listen to this video from a hearing on California’s AB 2218, which has passed and now provides funding to gender clinics who treat children. In her video testimony, Senator Susan Rubio says that she received 100s and 100s of calls expressing concern that this would bill, if passed, would allow for the sterilization of children. She assures us that she has read the bill and sees no language that states children would be sterilized. She thinks because the bill doesn’t explicitly say that children will be rendered sterile, it won’t happen. But her rationale shows that she doesn’t understand what medically is being done to children who have their puberty blocked and then take hormones for the rest of their life.
But this lie has been exposed which is why children are offered fertility preservation. Keep in mind a few things as you read the document from Seattle Children’s Hospital:
- Fertility preservation in children is experimental – the only cases we have are pediatric oncology patients where it is thought their chemo and radiation therapies may damage their fertility. Even in this population, we only have three example of young women who were able to go on and conceive as young women post cancer treatment.
- Imagine reading this statement from the Seattle Children’s brochure, “If you want to preserve sperm or eggs, you must do so before having surgical removal of the testes (orchiectomy) or removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy)” and remind yourself this is being told to a child – maybe as young as 8 or 9 years old who probably has little to no capacity to understand this.
- With these options being offered to minors and their parents, options are presented in a light that one necessarily believes these options will work. These children, and their parents, are being sold a lie that preserving their fertility means they can go on and have biological children.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.