It's about time this community has more information and support.
The traditional fertility system is reactive and designed for heteronormative couples. Couples typically have to "prove" they've been trying to conceive for up to a year before they qualify for fertility care. That's problematic for people who want to check in on fertility early and dismissive to those who are in an LGBTQ+ relationship. With each generation, the self-identified LGBTQ+ population grows. Twenty percent of people ages 18-34 identify as LGBTQ+, according to GLAAD. Put simply, we cannot exclude 20% of our society from reproductive healthcare.
Today, we're announcing our first-ever Modern State of LGBTQ+ Fertility. This clinical survey looks into what cisgender lesbian women, transgender (both male-to-female and female-to-male), non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people think and feel when it comes to fertility.
In our survey, we explore where this community turns for information and support (and where they'd prefer to turn), as well as their emotions associated with fertility and common knowledge gaps. What we found: an overwhelming appetite to learn more, levels of discomfort with traditional healthcare providers, and a reliance on community-based and non-traditional information sources to fill the gap.
One step forward
One part of The Modern State of LGBTQ+ Fertility that really struck me: nearly half of respondents don't feel comfortable talking to traditional healthcare providers about fertility, and 84% wish they knew more about LGBTQ+ affirming reproductive healthcare. We have a responsibility to do so much better.
That's why we're hosting two free online information sessions for the LGBTQ+ community to hear from an affirming, LGBTQ-specializing OB-GYN and get questions answered. Our research shows that respondents are turning to social media in the absence of access to an affirming healthcare system, despite preferring clinical expertise for their fertility information and support. We hope that these online information sessions will provide some of the support that the community is lacking — and wanting — the most.
Why this matters to us
When we first set out to explore research on LGBTQ+ fertility and family planning, we were struck by how little was out there. We found an interesting study on OB-GYNs' attitudes and knowledge when it comes to LGBTQ+ patient care, another on trans patients' utilization of the traditional reproductive healthcare system, as well as one on LGBTQ+ experiences with providers. There was by no means a breadth of research like you'll find on cisgender, heteronormative infertility.
At Modern Fertility, we're driven by finding and filling information gaps in reproductive health — both through research and tools. Our first product is a fertility hormone test that makes personalized fertility information more accessible much earlier in life, at a fraction of the cost. We're talking to our community every day about how we can provide tools and resources that give them more agency over their reproductive health, so they can own the decisions impacting their bodies and futures — whatever those decisions may be.
We believe in access to healthcare, which means we also believe in access to healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community. Whether it's understanding donor sperm options, exploring fertility preservation, or mapping out the impact of hormone therapy and surgical transition on fertility, we think that everyone deserves fertility information — no matter their background or identity.
We're fortunate to have had incredible survey partners, including the LGBTQ+ dating and social app HER and prominent gender researcher Mere Abrams (LCSW), who helped craft the survey themes. Mostly, we are grateful to our LGBTQ+ respondents who not only completed hundreds of survey questions, but wrote detailed accounts of what they want out of fertility and family planning support.
More to come
We know that with this report and these information sessions, we have barely scratched the surface with what's possible (and needed) for the LGBTQ+ community to feel more supported in fertility and family planning.
Research and scalable, information-based tools are our current approach, but we need the collaboration and energy of the entire industry to ubiquitously support LGTBQ+ people. We are excited to continue to serve the LGTBQ+ community and promote accessibility, destigmatization, and choice — for everyone.
Let's do this. 👊🏳️🌈