New routes to parenthood
Recognition of gender fluidity, gender dysphoria and transgender people is increasing, and with it, debates on reproductive rights. Is science and technology keeping up? George Winter investigates
Under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, an application for a gender recognition certificate must be granted if a Gender Recognition Panel decides that the applicant has—or has had—gender dysphoria; has lived with the acquired gender for 2 years before applying; and intends to live permanently in the acquired gender. According to the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) (2011), in 2007 some 1500 people in the UK presented for treatment of gender dysphoria; by 2010 the figure was approximately 12 500. The number who present for treatment are part of a mainly invisible group of people that ‘may number 300 000, a prevalence of 600 per 100 000, of whom 80% were assigned as boys at birth.’ GIRES does, however, state that it expects that this balance may become more equal.
The midwifery profession may encounter increasing numbers of transgender individuals asserting their reproductive rights to have children. In response to this, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (2011:51) advocates that, ‘transsexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming people should not be refused reproductive options for any reason’.
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