Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy

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HERE TO HELP YOU BE YOURSELF

Beginning gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) is a life-affirming and life-changing choice. HealthQ is privileged to support our patients through this journey. We offer gender-affirming hormone therapy in Beverly, Lawrence, and Haverhill to people 18 and older. If you are under 18, we will refer you to other providers who can provide care. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs and goals of treatment.

What to Expect with GAHT?

During an initial visit we will review your medical history, take your vital signs, go over the risks, benefits, and what to expect with gender-affirming hormone therapy, order lab tests, and perform a brief physical exam—we do not perform a genital exam unless you request one.

About a week later, we will schedule a second visit to review your lab results, consent for treatment, medication plan, and follow-up visits. We will send prescriptions to the pharmacy, and schedule regular follow-up visits to check your satisfaction with hormone therapy and any side effects or adverse reactions.

During follow up we will check your health and whether we can assist you with any other aspects of gender affirmation (speech therapy, behavioral health, hair removal, social support, assistance with marker changes, and planning for surgery, if desired).

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this service, you can call or text to speak with Jill, our LGBTQIA Patient Navigator (she/hers).

You Decide What You Can Do With Your Body

We believe that when a patient is fully informed about the risks, benefits, and what to expect with gender-affirming hormone therapy, a referral from a mental health professional is not required. There is no “gatekeeper.” You decide whether you can medically transition. With that said, we are prepared to provide our patients with referrals to trans-affirming mental health services.

OUR PRACTITIONERS ARE TRAINED IN PROVIDING GENDER-INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE TO ALL PEOPLE.

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FAQ About Birth Control and Hormone Therapy

Can I Get Pregnant?

If you have a uterus and ovaries, you can get pregnant. This is true even if you take testosterone. Although it may stop your monthly bleeding, testosterone does not prevent you from becoming pregnant.

Can I Get Someone Else Pregnant?

If you have a penis and testes, you can get someone pregnant. This is true even if you take estrogen. Estrogen may lower your sperm count, but it does not keep you from getting someone pregnant.

Which Method Works for People Taking Estrogen?

People who have a penis and testes and who take estrogen (along with their partners) can choose any birth control method.

Which Method Works for People Taking Testosterone?

People who have a uterus and ovaries and take testosterone can use any birth control method. The progestin pill, implant, IUD, and shot do not interfere with testosterone. They may help decrease monthly bleeding. Some people use one of these methods just to control bleeding, even if they don’t need birth control.

Methods with estrogen (pill/patch/ring) may counter the effects of testosterone, causing female traits—even so, people taking testosterone can choose a method with estrogen. The copper IUD prevents pregnancy and contains no hormones. Condoms prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Do You Have Permanent Birth Control Options?

Permanent methods are great for people who don’t ever want to get pregnant. These include tubal ligation, hysterectomy, orchiectomy, and vasectomy. We offer vasectomy and can refer you for other procedures.


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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT MY INITIAL VISIT?

At your initial visit, we’ll review your medical history with you, take your vital signs, go over the risks, benefits, and what to expect with gender-affirming hormone therapy, review the informed consent, and do some lab work. We also perform a brief physical exam; we do not perform a genital exam unless you request one.

To note: it’s recommended that transgender women who have had gender-affirming surgery (“bottom surgery”) have a pelvic exam yearly.

Q: HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE FIRST VISIT?

If you’ve had a physical exam with your primary care doctor in the last year, bringing those records with you is very helpful but not required. Lab work results such as lipid profiles, liver profiles, and hormone levels as well as any prescriptions you currently take are particularly helpful.

Q: WHAT IS GENDER-AFFIRMING HORMONE THERAPY?

Gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) is the use of hormone medication to change your secondary sexual characteristics from feminine to masculine, or masculine to feminine. For example, masculinizing therapy would lead to effects such as a deeper voice and more body hair, and feminizing therapy would lead to effects such as breast development and body fat redistribution in a female pattern—around the hips, buttocks, thighs, etc.

Q: WHAT DO I NEED TO TRANSFER CARE FROM ANOTHER CLINIC TO HEALTHQ?

We accept patients who are choosing to transfer care to HealthQ from their current gender-affirming hormone therapy provider. We ask that you bring information about your current hormone prescription to your first appointment, and if any additional medical records are needed we’ll discuss that with you before your appointment as well.

Q: WILL HEALTHQ PROVIDERS WRITE REFERRALS TO GENDER-AFFIRMING SURGEONS OR OTHER TRANS-FRIENDLY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS?

Yes, we will be able to write referral letters for patients seeking gender-affirming surgery. We also have a network of trans-affirming primary care providers and mental health professionals that we can refer our patients to.

Q: WILL MY PROVIDER BE ABLE TO HELP ME ACCESS THINGS LIKE NAME CHANGE OR GENDER MARKER SERVICES?

Yes, we are able to provide our patients with name and gender marker change petition forms, as well as step by step instructions and any additional information. We have staff at all three sites who are able to notarize these forms for you at no cost.

Q: HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO GET GAHT FROM HEALTHQ?

We provide gender-affirming hormone therapy in Lawrence, Haverhill, and Beverly, MA for patients 16 and over. 16 and 17-year-old patients must have already started puberty and need signed parental consent.

Q: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Most insurances, including MassHealth, cover office visits, lab work, and prescriptions for gender-affirming hormone therapy with just a copay. If you don’t have insurance, we offer sliding scale fees based on your income level and can talk with you more about those options over a phone call, text message, or at your initial appointment. Our goal is to accommodate all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Q: WHAT IF I HAVE TRANSPORTATION ISSUES?

Our Lawrence, Beverly, and Haverhill offices are all accessible by the Commuter Rail and local bus routes, as well as the RIDE service provided by the MBTA.

After your initial appointment with us, we also offer follow up visits over telehealth where you can touch base with your provider through video chat and go to your local Quest location for follow-up lab work on your own schedule.

Q: DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM A THERAPIST OR MY PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR?

We do not ask patients for a letter from a therapist in order to begin hormone therapy with us because we believe that when a patient is fully informed about the risks, benefits, and what to expect with gender-affirming hormone therapy, a referral from a mental health professional isn’t required.

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