2018 was a year of continued advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community, expanded concern for the future, and hope inspired by new parents. Personally, I remain committed to helping raise awareness and improving access to care for the LGBTQ+ community. I have traveled and spoken to many different companies about opening their doors to LGBTQ+ persons.
We have so much to be proud of in terms of what has been accomplished for LGBTQ+ couples in 2018 and should appreciate how far we’ve come.
We founded the first-ever LGBTQ+ Special Interest Group within the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). As a founding member of this group, I feel strongly that this transformation within the fertility community indicates an ever-evolving recognition and acceptance of this patient group. However, there is much work to be done. Still today healthcare documents and patient forms address mother/female and father/male, and not as patient or person 1 and patient or person 2. As defined by the ASRM, “The LGBTQ Special Interest Group exists to foster an environment of inclusivity for all potential parents to have a voice and an advocate within the ASRM.” We aim to provide content and education and added curriculum into physician training requirements, which gets us closer each day towards eliminating the constraints that have been placed on our community.
The trans voice was amplified despite the challenges in our changing political landscape. Because so many of us are out, our community is stronger and able to advocate for change. I am thankful for those highly visible LGBTQ+ advocates that help keep us safe. Specifically, we need to thank Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, Ellen Degeneres, Laverne Cox, and Neil Patrick Harris. I myself worked on my cultural competence with respect to LGBTQ+ issues and know now that my entire medical practice is better educated to treat and care for the entire community.
In addition to the trans community, young LGBTQ+ couples and singles no longer hesitate when they want a family. These twenty-somethings know who they are and live in the light are a new, welcome phenomenon over the past 5 years.
On the science side, I am thrilled to report that the advances in treating LGBTQ+ persons have translated into historically high live birth rates. As cisgender single men and couples build their families with the help of fully-screened egg donors, proven gestational carriers, and pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS testing), their chances of success rise. As we treat more and more cisgender single women and couples, we continue to support – and to personalize—their journeys. My entire practice celebrates the success of each of these pregnancies.
I do believe that the way we turn the tide against hate is with compassion and being present. I am so thrilled to help these new families come into existence and I know they will help build acceptance across our country and the globe. More LGBTQ+ parents and children will bring us more into the mainstream and within that light, we will shine brightly. So, I encourage all of us to be brave, inclusive and loving to one another.
Written by Dr. Mark Leondires