We started Modern Fertility to bring healthcare up to speed with our modern lives, and to arm people with the information they need to be their own best personal health advocates. The healthcare industry has been historically difficult for women to navigate, but there’s been even more of a barrier for folks in the LGBTQ+ community. (Why? To name just a few reasons, there’s been misinformation, a lack of LGBTQ+ representation in medicine, and scarcity of affirming healthcare resources.)
To put an end to the mystery around fertility and family planning in the LGBTQ+ community, we teamed up with dating and social app HER and gender researcher Mere Abrams (LCSW) to launch the Modern State of LGBTQ+ Fertility. We surveyed folks who identify as LGBTQ+ to learn about their difficulties accessing information, and what they would most like to see from the industry in the future. We found that 84% of the people we interviewed wish they knew more about LGBTQ+ affirming reproductive healthcare.
So what can the industry do to make people feel included in the conversation about their reproductive healthcare? Here, 12 people who identify as LGBTQ+ share how they’d like to see the industry move forward.
"Have a spot on the initial intake form for pronouns and include non-binary pronouns. If they don't ask about pronouns, I feel apprehensive about talking about queer issues with them."
"I would love for people to ask about my relationships and sex practices before asking about birth control. And I would love to be trusted when I say there is no chance that I'm pregnant. Providers need to think of gender and sexual minorities as normal, healthy people and be non-judgmental about different relationship styles and practices."
"Not assume I want children or don’t want them, but make me aware of what my options are for if I want children now, in five, 10, 15, 20 years, and what my ‘deadlines’ are for different options or preservation treatments. Also, how I’ll need to start planning for children (if I decide to have them) given that I’m a cis woman who will most likely partner with another cis woman."
"Trust the individual or couple to know what steps are relevant and focus on the areas they request without forcing exploration of topics which may be gendered in ways a cisgender heterosexual person cannot understand."
"I am an LGBTQ+ person in an opposite-sex relationship (bi cis woman and bi cis man), and I would feel more comfortable seeing someone who doesn't assume LGBTQ+ people in opposite-sex relationships have the same relationship experiences and concerns as straight people, and is open to people having non-standard experiences of gender even if they are more or less cis. I would feel most comfortable seeing someone who used gender neutral language, didn't use the word ‘motherhood’ a lot, and understood that some people may not feel positively about their fertility."
"I am asexual and have no interest in ever starting a family. However, family planning still affects me and I don't like it when people write off other asexuals for wanting kids or ignore that family planning also means preventing fertility."
"Be open and honest. Do not use euphemisms but rather scientifically accurate language. Be sensitive, however, to gender identity and sexual identity."
"Be knowledgeable, professional, yet warm, inviting and welcoming of all genders, sexualities, and neuroticism."
"Hire queer staff (it's incredibly affirming), educate staff, and exclusively, clearly state their support for LGBTQ+ people if they do indeed provide adequate resources and support for us."
"Take steps to ensure I feel comfortable as a man with ovaries by divorcing gendered language with physiology language (e.g., person with uterus, person with testes, etc. instead of woman/man)."
"Don’t assume all families having babies have one uterus, two testes in the equation. Devote the same space/energy to options for people with different repro systems, or where one person’s system doesn’t function."
"Family is chosen. Limiting it to only the question of reproduction with language like ‘family planning’ has always made me bristle."