Lee-Or Scarlat

Access to Fertility Preservation for Low-Income Transgender Youth in the Bay Area: Barriers, Narratives, and Looking Forward

My research focuses on the reproductive futures of transgender youth through examining current barriers to access for fertility preservation services in the Bay Area. While various hormones and surgeries may compromise future biological reproduction for youth, research has shown strikingly low rates of fertility preservation among trans youth. Even so, there is a lack of literature addressing the intersecting barriers to fertility preservation and, moreover, the larger scale impact of class and racial privilege in accessing reproductive options for trans youth.

Within this context I will employ in-depth interviews with transgender care professionals, trans youth, and their caregivers in order to investigate: How do systemic barriers impact the way youth view their family planning options? How does this particularly impact low-income youth and youth of color? In investigating strategies to make fertility preservation more accessible to low-income families I also ask: How can trans youth advocacy organizations learn from strategies employed by pediatric cancer organization, which have politically mobilized to address financial barriers to fertility preservation? This study operates under the historical framework of eugenics within the United States, the sterilization of trans bodies, and the exclusion of low-income people of color from advocacy around reproductive justice.