Empowering LGBTQ+ Families on the Path to Parenthood

Empowering LGBTQ+ Families on the Path to Parenthood

Every year in June, Pride Month serves as a vibrant celebration of love, acceptance, and diversity, as well as a powerful reminder of the progress made for LGBTQ+ individuals, especially when it comes to family-building. Over the past few decades, we have witnessed firsthand how modern fertility care has opened doors that previously were thought impossible. However, although LGBTQ+ aspiring parents have more options than ever before, it’s important to acknowledge that the path to parenthood can still be immensely challenging, especially when dealing with infertility. 

Infertility in the LGBTQ+ Community

In the spirit of inclusivity, it‚Äôs essential to shed light on an often overlooked topic in LGBTQ+ family building ‚Äď infertility. The concept of infertility in and of itself is typically defined through a heteronormative lens. When the topic of LGBTQ+ fertility does come up, most of the time, the conversation focuses on third-party reproduction (e.g., egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy). The emphasis on third-party reproduction for LGBTQ+ family building is undeniably important, but can inadvertently overshadow the emotional and physical challenges faced by those struggling with infertility.

Infertility is something that can affect anyone, regardless of sexual identity and gender. By broadening the discourse around infertility in the LGBTQ+ community, we can foster a deeper understanding that addresses the unique experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ individuals and couples and reduces the stigma associated with infertility. It is essential to shift the focus from the means of reproduction to the overall journey of infertility itself, ensuring that everyone receives the support and understanding they deserve.

Unique Considerations for LGBTQ+ Aspiring Parents

There are many biological factors that contribute to fertility, some of which are the same regardless of sexual orientation and gender, and some of which are unique to the LGBTQ+ journey. 

Infertility in People With Eggs

For cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, and others who may have eggs but don’t identify as women, fertility is generally tied to age and ovarian reserve. Most people with eggs reach their peak fertility during their 20s to early 30s when they have a higher number of high-quality eggs. Around the age of 35, the quantity and quality of eggs begin to decline, first gradually, and then rapidly in the late 30s to early 40s. 

While age is the most prominent factor to consider when talking about ovarian-related infertility, it’s not the only factor. Infertility can also be caused or exacerbated by ovulation disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), structural abnormalities (especially of the fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix), endometriosis, hormonal imbalances, and even lifestyle factors. In many cases, infertility is caused by a combination of factors.

Infertility in People With Sperm

For cisgender men, transgender women, non-binary individuals, and others who may have sperm but don’t identify as men, fertility is generally associated with sperm disorders, low sperm count, and poor sperm quality. While age doesn’t have as significant an impact on people with sperm as it does on people with eggs, age can still play a role in making it complicated to impregnate. Additionally, sperm-related infertility can be affected by a wide variety of issues, including:

  • Varicocele, a condition in which veins within the scrotum become swollen
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as low levels of testosterone
  • Disorders of the reproductive system, such as testicular, ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction
  • Blockages in the reproductive tract
  • Environmental factors
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes

Transgender Fertility and Gender-Affirming Therapies

Gender-affirming therapies, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and certain surgeries, can have potential implications for fertility. While these interventions play a vital role in affirming individuals' gender identities, it is important to recognize that they can potentially have an impact on reproductive capabilities. For example, transgender women undergoing hormone therapy use estrogen and anti-androgen medications, which can lead to inhibited sperm production. Similarly, transgender men taking testosterone may experience ovarian suppression, which can cause temporary or permanent infertility.

However, it's important to note that the degree to which fertility is affected varies among individuals, and some may still have the ability to conceive or preserve their family-building options through fertility preservation. Before starting gender-affirming treatments, it’s crucial to consult with healthcare professionals who specialize in transgender care and fertility, as they can provide valuable insights and guidance for individuals seeking gender-affirming therapies while considering their future fertility goals.

Taking Control of Your Fertility Journey

While some of the factors that affect fertility are out of your direct control (e.g., age, genetics, etc.), there is a lot you can do in your everyday life to support your fertility journey, regardless of sexual identity, gender, or relationship status. One of the best ways to take care of your fertility is to take care of your body through nutrition, physical activity, avoiding harmful habits (e.g., smoking, excessive alcohol, drugs, etc.), and managing your mental/emotional well-being. 

For many, a healthy, fertility-centric routine also includes taking supplements and vitamins designed to support reproductive function. There are many fertility supplements that are available for both people with eggs and people with sperm. Some of these include:

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): This powerful antioxidant has been shown to be an effective nutrient for improving sperm and egg quality and health.
  • Vitamin C: Another antioxidant that has been shown to potentially improve fertility for both people with eggs and people with sperm.
  • Vitamin D3: An antioxidant that may benefit sperm health, or provide support for those dealing with endocrine-related infertility factors, such as PCOS or diabetes.
  • Selenium: An essential nutrient with antioxidant properties that can be particularly beneficial for sperm development, fertilization, and pregnancy.
  • And much more.

Shop Supplements for Your LGBTQ+ Journey with NutraBloom¬ģ

At NutraBloom¬ģ, we support family-building journeys of all kinds and carry a wide range of fertility care supplements to support egg and sperm health. Wherever you are in your LGBTQ+ family-building journey, we have a supplement for every step of the way.¬†

Browse our supplements for everyone*.

*Disclaimer: The usage of gendered language on our website is solely for the purpose of medical clarity and should not be interpreted as a reflection of or disregard for trans identities. We acknowledge that individuals' gender identities may differ from the language used in this content, and we encourage inclusivity and understanding in all aspects of healthcare and beyond.


LGBTQ+ Fertility, Supplements

Back Next