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Eurovision Victory and IVF - Uncovering an Unexpected Connection - Non-Binary and New Challenges for IVF

Nemo Mettler, Photograph: Jessica Gow/AP
Nemo Mettler, Photograph: Jessica Gow/AP

The recent Eurovision victory by the Swiss singer Nemo Mettler marked the first time a non-binary person has won the song contest. This event was extensively covered by global media, bringing new attention to the non-binary community. Moreover, according to The Guardian, Mettler called for their home country to allow third-gender entries on official documents following their win.

It is inevitable that this new reality affects various fields, and I will focus on medicine and in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Assisted reproductive technologies, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), have traditionally been designed and utilized within a binary framework of male and female reproductive systems. However, with increasing recognition and visibility of non-binary and gender-diverse individuals, there is a growing need to address fertility and reproductive options in this population.

Our profession has already faced the need to recognize the specificities of the LGBT population. The adjustments in our IVF practices have primarily been technical, involving changes in legislative conditions, as well as ethical, religious, and social considerations. These adjustments have been related to the individual perceptions of doctors and medical staff, as well as the reorganization of institutional work. However, there has been a lack of adequate systemic response from the profession.

The recent emergence and rapid expansion of the non-binary population present new challenges for IVF and require a distinct approach from the profession.  We should considerate: inclusive language and practices, supportive care and resources, legal and ethical considerations and shared decision making.

There are also medical specificities such as: comprehensive fertility assessment, hormone therapy and fertility preservation, consideration of reproductive options. On a systemic level, it is necessary to understand the specific needs of these populations and organize the necessary adaptations of the IVF system.

These modifications should minimally include:

·   Staff Education: Training medical personnel to communicate effectively and work respectfully with non-binary individuals.

·   Organizational and Technical Capacity: Adjusting the facilities and resources to accommodate the needs of non-binary patients.

·   Documentation: Updating forms and records to include options beyond the traditional male and female categories.

·   Legislation: Advocating for changes in laws to recognize and support non-binary individuals' rights in medical contexts, including IVF.

·   Likely much more to come 

Addressing these areas will help ensure that the IVF process is inclusive and respectful of non-binary individuals, providing them with the same level of care and consideration as any other patient.

In conclusion, IVF reproduction in the non-binary population requires a holistic and affirming approach that centers on individual autonomy, informed decision making, and respectful and inclusive care. By recognizing and addressing the unique needs and experiences of non-binary individuals on a systemic level, healthcare providers can help ensure that all individuals have access to comprehensive fertility care that aligns with their reproductive goals and identities.



                                                      professor Aleksandar Ljubić

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