The toughest decision my transgender son has had to make

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

There are many trials and challenges that come with a gender transition, but this must be one of the toughest: at the age of 15 my son has had to make peace with the decision that he will never have biological children of his own.

My son was born a girl, and has female reproductive organs, but with the treatments he's going through to transition to being male, it means he will become infertile. We were given the option to harvest eggs before he started taking puberty blockers about six months ago, but given that each cycle can cost thousands of dollars, it wasn't something we were in a position to consider.

The effects of puberty blockers are reversible, but when my son starts taking testosterone when he turns 16, that will effectively end his ability to have children.

I see the love and affection my son showers on his younger siblings – he's such a wonderful big brother – and it prompted me to ask him if this decision made him sad.

"The idea that I have to decide my future at age 15 is horrifying," my son told me. "Sure, having kids isn't a mandatory thing, but the societal pressure to have kids is overwhelming, and it's something that I would otherwise want."

Of course, my son has no desire to have children any time soon, but he says he's confident he'd probably want them in the future. He has considered not having the hormonal therapy that will effectively end his ability to reproduce, but says that it's just not an option for him.

"I have to choose between my own comfort and doing what society expects," he says. "I wish I could have it all, but that's not the way it works – and what I want more than anything is to feel comfortable in my own skin. I know testosterone will help with that.

"Each trans experience is different, but for me, HRT (hormonal replacement therapy) is a must, otherwise I doubt I'll ever feel okay in my body."

My son says he's already considered that he could become a dad another way, but he knows it won't quite be the same.

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"Sure, I can adopt," he says. "I can have a surrogate. My partner could have kids. Yes, I'll still be their father no matter what. It'd just be nice to have bio children."

As for whether he should wait until he's older to make such a life-changing choice, my son says he knows he's young, but he feels like he knows himself well enough.

"I do feel prepared enough," he says. "Nothing is perfect, but there are other ways to have kids, should I ever want them. My own comfort should come before the idea that maybe I'll change my mind."

My son also says that when he's older he'd like to foster or adopt teenagers who don't have anywhere else to go.

"I know what it feels like to not fit anywhere, and I think I have a lot of love to give those kids," he says.

But for now my son's focus is where it belongs – on himself, and doing what's right for him.

He's no stranger to making big decisions that will affect his life forever, but they're the right ones for him, and as his mum, I'll support him all the way.