Frequently Asked Questions
Questions you may have about our services and the stages of your transition process, answered.
Below are answers to frequently asked questions. We realise that it can be confusing to navigate the private healthcare system, and we hope you will find the answers you need here. If you still have questions however, we also provide a free online Pre-Consultation Information Session every month. In each session, we give further information about our clinic, we explain what you can expect in consultation, and we answer any further questions you might have.
How do I book an appointment?
The most efficient way to book in for one of our services is to complete the registration process. Once we have received your registration, we will contact you within 10 days to offer you an appointment. If you are an existing patient, and you are already registered with our clinic, you can email to request a new appointment.
How many appointments will I need?
The number of appointments depends on the complexity of your case, history and completeness of the information you provide for us in advance of your meeting. Please note that in some cases, further follow-ups may be necessary in order to complete the referral process to ensure the best possible healthcare outcomes. This would be more likely for patients under 18 years of age, for individuals who are early on in transition, or for non-binary patients where personalised goals of transition need clarification.
What is the cost of an assessment?
Please see pricing for our services here.
What are the waiting times for an appointment?
Depending on which practitioner you see, waiting times vary between 7 days and 4 weeks.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
Once you are booked in, you will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires about your background to provide a written narrative of your gender experience so far, and to provide copies of identification and, if relevant, name change documents. We may also ask for medical records in cases of complex medical history. You do not need to do anything beyond providing us with the information that we request.
Does one assessment cover all treatments, such as hormone therapy and surgery?
You will need an independent assessment for each treatment, as the assessment and resulting referral/report is specific to the nature of that treatment. If you are asking for a second referral after having a referral from us already, the process is easier, and the cost is less due to the fact that we have already processed much of your information.
What happens after my assessment?
Unless otherwise stated in your appointment(s), you should receive your referral/report within 4 weeks after the completion of the assessment process. If further support services are required, this will be discussed, and a plan agreed, as part of the assessment process.
For how long is my referral valid?
Your referral is good for 6 months. Should you require the referral for a later date, we will arrange brief call, free of charge, to update relevant details in the report.
How does shared care work with respect to hormone therapy?
Once you have been given a diagnosis from one of our Gender Specialists as appropriate, and together we have established that hormone therapy is right for you, we will issue a referral to the Hormone Specialist Provider of your choice.
Following your consultation with that provider, they will write to your GP practice issuing guidance for prescribing for you. You should be able to get your HRT prescriptions from your GP practice.
NB: This process assumes that you will ultimately pursue support within the NHS, but that you require “bridged” support from your GP while you wait for the NHS Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) to take up your case. If you have not done so, you should ask your GP for a referral to an NHS GIC.
When do I have to decide about fertility preservation?
If you are planning to undertake hormone therapy, it is possible that your fertility will be affected. Though it is not impossible to retrieve and store gametes (eggs or sperm) after the start of hormone therapy, it can be disruptive to the aims of treatment.
We recommend that you seriously consider this option prior to your assessment. You will have the chance to discuss this process in your appointment, and we will support you in whatever you choose. In some regions of the country, fertility preservation is covered by the NHS, and it is the right of a transgender person to undertake this treatment as part of their transition.
If you would like to pursue this option, we will write to your GP asking that they refer you directly within the NHS to fertility services, as waiting four to five years for the NHS GIC to do so is not reasonable.
How does name change by deed poll work?
Many people who wish to transition away from the gender they were assigned at birth decide to take on new (gender congruent) name and pronouns. Whilst it is not required that you change your name prior to embarking on physical transition, i.e., hormone therapy or surgery, it is highly recommended that you do for several reasons. First, it is important that all providers are able to communicate about your case clearly and using the same (correct) name. This is particularly important in establishing shared care with your GP. Some practices have little experience with transgender patients, and clarity regarding your pathway is likely to improve chances of collaboration and avoid delays. Providing a name and pronoun change request to your GP also gives clarity about your transition goals and shows commitment and intent.
Second, changing your name on paper has no health implications. Most healthcare providers will agree that it is best to take reversible steps toward transition before irreversible steps. Name change can easily be reversed. That said, many people report that seeing their chosen name on a formal document gives them confidence and acts as a sort of barometer as to how they feel in taking first steps toward transition.
Lastly, changing your name is simple and inexpensive. Please note that simply obtaining a deed poll does not change your name with any agency or institution. The document must be signed, witnessed, and dated to be valid. You can secure the documents and then provide them to relevant institutions, i.e., employer, bank, GP, HSGC, etc., as it fits with your life plans and transition. The document contains your given name and your new name, providing clarity that both names refer to the same person, for example, if you have changed your name with the GP, but still need to travel on your passport which has your old/given name. These changes can be made in time.
Do I have to stop smoking to get surgery or start hormone therapy?
Yes. Nicotine interferes with healing after surgery and can increase risks associated with hormone therapy. Most providers (for surgery or hormones) will require that you cease nicotine use prior to undertaking any intervention. This includes all delivery mechanisms, i.e., cigarettes, patches, vapes, gum.