Knowledge, Practice Behaviors, and Perceived Barriers to Fertility Care Among Providers of Transgender Healthcare

Diane Chen*, Victoria D. Kolbuck, Megan E. Sutter, Amy C. Tishelman, Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Leena Nahata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Transgender individuals may experience impaired fertility due to gender-affirming hormonal interventions (e.g., pubertal suppression treatment and/or exogenous hormones). Clinical practice guidelines recommend providers discuss fertility implications and options for fertility preservation. The goal of this study was to examine fertility knowledge, practice behaviors, and perceived barriers to fertility care among multidisciplinary providers who care for transgender pediatric and/or adult patients. Methods: A 46-item survey was distributed to relevant listservs and at conferences with a focus on transgender health. Results: Two hundred two providers completed the survey: (1) physicians (n = 87), (2) psychologists (n = 51), (3) Master (MA)-level mental health providers (n = 39), and (4) nonphysician healthcare providers, comprising advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, and physician assistants (n = 25). Overall knowledge was high (M = 3.64, SD = 1.61). Significant differences were identified in knowledge by provider type (p <.001) but not patient age group (p =.693). Physicians had significantly greater knowledge than MA-level mental health providers (p =.005). Variables associated with fertility discussion included provider-related barriers [b = –.42, p <.001], and perceived patient-related barriers, including perceptions that patients are unwilling to delay treatment [b =.12, p =.011] or are unable to afford fertility preservation (FP) [b =.12, p =.029]. Conclusions: While overall fertility-related knowledge was high, there was variability in domains of knowledge, as well as provider practice behaviors related to fertility counseling and referral for FP. Findings related to perceived barriers to fertility counseling and fertility preservation warrant further investigation; qualitative studies may be particularly helpful in understanding how specific provider- and patient-related barriers impact counseling and referral for fertility-related care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume64
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Fertility counseling
  • Fertility preservation
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • Reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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