Modern State of LGBTQ+ Fertility 2019

Fertility and family planning are complicated for just about everyone, but they can be disproportionately challenging for the LGBTQ+ community. Misinformation, combined with a lack of inclusive practices and affirming providers in traditional healthcare, can lead to stress and unwarranted stigma.

Welcome to the first-ever Modern State of LGBTQ+ Fertility. We teamed up with the LGBTQ+ dating and social app HER and prominent gender researcher Mere Abrams (LCSW) to survey people who identify as LGBTQ+. We asked what the respondents think and feel about fertility, and where they turn for information and support.

We believe that LGBTQ+ health is key to a healthy society. Everyone deserves access to reproductive health information and resources—no matter their background or identity.

What we’ll cover

Want to learn more about LGBTQ+ fertility and family planning from an expert… for free?

Join our online LGBTQ+ fertility and family planning information sessions on December 3rd and 4th, where you'll learn from an LGBTQ+ specializing provider and have your questions answered.

The rise of LGBTQ+ families

  • More people than ever are identifying with LGBTQ+

    Source: GLAAD, 2017
  • 63% of LBGTQ+ millennials (ages 18-35) are considering expanding their families, mostly using assisted reproductive technologies, foster care, or adoption

    63%
    Source: FamilyEquality.org, 2019
  • 78% of respondents felt that identifying as LGBTQ+ affected how people interact with them

    78%
    Source: Modern State of LGBTQ+ Fertility

The fertility information gap

Let’s dig into the misinformation circulating around LGBTQ+ fertility.

Of the survey respondents:

  • 89% were not aware that age is a better indicator of fertility than overall health for people with ovaries over age 35.

    89%
  • 44% were not aware that fertility declines for people with testes who are over age 45.

    44%
  • 80% were not aware that hormone blood tests can be used to estimate egg count for a person with ovaries.

    80%
  • 46% were not aware that up to a year after initiating testosterone therapy, transgender men with ovaries may still have viable eggs.

    46%
  • 54% were not aware that the average cost of one cycle of egg freezing is more than $5,000 USD.

    54%

The information gap is significant, but it’s not for lack of curiosity or appetite to learn.

Of the survey respondents:
84%

wish they knew more about LGBTQ+ affirming reproductive healthcare

69%

wish they knew more about reproductive technologies

60%

wish they knew more about family planning options

“There’s no standard roadmap for queer people who want to have children, so we often need to write our own scripts and pave our own way.”

Jordan, Modern Fertility community member READ JORDAN'S STORY

The challenges with traditional healthcare

46% of all respondents do not feel comfortable talking to a healthcare provider about their fertility.

We looked at differences in comfort between heterosexual cisgender women, lesbian cisgender women, and transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people.

When asked about comfort talking to healthcare providers about fertility:

18%

of heterosexual cisgender women said that they do not feel comfortable

Source: Modern State of Fertility, 2019
36%

of cisgender lesbians said that they do not feel comfortable

52%

of non-binary, transgender, and gender non-conforming people said that they do not feel comfortable

When LGBTQ+ respondents were asked about their top information sources for fertility and family planning information:

Percent who turned to
LGBTQ+ respondents
Heterosexual
cisgender women
General healthcare providers:
29%
59%
Specialist healthcare providers:
13%
34%
Source: Modern State of Fertility 2019

A Center for American Progress study found that 29% of transgender people said a doctor or other healthcare provider refused to see them because of their actual or perceived gender identity. It’s clear that providers need to commit to supporting this community by delivering evidence-based, relevant information and a supportive environment that embraces all identities.

“I don't want to be in a situation where I'm having to educate my doctor rather than the other way around.”

Survey participant, Modern State of LGBTQ+ Fertility 2019

Enthusiasm towards home tests

While there are levels of discomfort with traditional healthcare providers, respondents were open to new ways to discover information about their bodies.

  • 81% say a home fertility test would be useful

    81%
  • 50% said they would feel more comfortable using a home fertility test than a test at a doctor's office

    50%

“Fertility journeys can be hard and micro-aggressions or negligence can feel even more palpable during this process, so make sure the provider and clinic is one where all involved feel respected and supported.”

Elle, Modern Fertility community READ ELLE'S STORY

Fertility triggers anxiety and fear — but there is hope

When asked how fertility and family planning makes them feel, here’s how those surveyed responded:

  • empowered 19%

  • afraid 37%

  • uncertain 50%

  • hopeful 27%

  • anxious 48%

  • excited 22%

Need more good info?

Join our online LGBTQ+ fertility and family planning information sessions on December 3rd and 4th, where you'll learn from an LGBTQ+ specializing provider and have your questions answered.

Looking for more resources? We’ve got you

Affirming LGBTQ+ Centers and Clinics:

Methodology

This research was conducted by Modern Fertility’s research team as a cross-sectional survey to discover what people who identify as LGBTQ+ currently understand about fertility and family planning. A cross-sectional survey means that we gathered the data at a single point in time and did not attempt to change or alter their beliefs in any way when gathering the data.

The data were collected from June-July 2019. A total of 207 people in the LBGTQ+ community completed the survey. The participants were recruited through the online social and dating service HER, as well as through other online communities.

So, what can — and can’t — this type of study tell us? A cross-sectional survey is a great way to learn about the number of people who hold certain beliefs and uncover the correlational relationships and subgroup differences between those beliefs. This type of study can’t tell us anything about causation.

Importantly, we wanted to make sure we conducted this study in the most accurate and scientifically sound way possible. Modern Fertility’s research team, comprised of PhD researchers and fertility and reproductive medical specialists, is committed to using the highest standards in academic research. We used reliable and validated measures and appropriate statistical analyses. The study was also approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), which ensures that we met the appropriate ethical standards in human research.

Demographics

Education:
#
%
Less than high school
2
1%
High school graduate
17
8.2%
Some college
50
24.2%
2 year degree
15
7.2%
4 year degree
61
29.5%
Attended and/or completed graduate school
62
30%
Racial/ethnic background (Note: could select more than one):
#
%
American Indian or Alaskan
7
3.4%
Asian
10
4.8%
Black or African American
12
5.8%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
1
0.5%
White
174
84.1%
Hispanic or Latino
17
8.2%
Other
13
6.3%
Prefer not to say
3
1.4%
Relationship status:
#
%
Single (never married)
74
35.7%
Married
31
15%
Partnered
20
10.6%
In a relationship
27
13%
Polyamorous
8
3.9%
In a long distance relationship
9
4.3%
Divorced
4
1.9%
Dating
7
3.4%
Coupled
10
5.3%
Something else
7
3.4%
Age:
Minimum: 18, Maximum: 59, M = 26.9, SD = 6.64
Gender Identities:
Cisgender lesbian - 83 Transgender - 36 Non-binary - 58 Gender non-conforming - 22 Questioning / prefer not to say - 4