I'm a pre-transition transwoman living in Northern Illinois, US, and have been for years. Recently I went to my doctor's office to be prescribed to HRT medications, but my doctor said he's not qualified to prescribe it. Is that possible?

If I can't get a prescription from my doctor, how do I get HRT? I don't have the income to spend a ton of money getting it by order through the internet.

  • Can someone with more reputation add tags related to this? Trans tags haven't been created yet. Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 20:52
  • You seem to be concerned with the question of healthcare financing (although depending on the status of the medication - prescription or OTC - you might be unable to purchase them without a prescription even if you could bear the cost). Healthcare financing varies from country to country, so without knowing to which healthcare system you are referring, an answer can't be provided (unless someone is an international specialist in the field and can cover all possible options, but this seems rather broad). I don't mean to pry on your privacy, just trying to help [to be continued...]
    – Lucky
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 22:39
  • 1
    In some health systems, your general practitioner refers you to a specialist and then: a) the specialist prescribes the medication or b) the specialist writes a report, based on which your GP prescribes the medication. The reason your GP refused to prescribe it might be because they are afraid to do you harm if you don't get specialist's attention; in some countries it is prohibited by law for them to prescribe certain classes of medicines. The question is does your healthcare system (insurance) cover this type of medicines for this indication. That's where you should start your search IMO.
    – Lucky
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 22:42
  • I put my location in the post, I forgot initially. And yes, I've looked up whether my insurance covers it, and it does. Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 23:46
  • Unfortunately, all I know (or think I know) is that healthcare financing in the US is insurance based and that insurance is private (not state-owned), but I'm not familiar with the details how it works. It's a great question (and might interest people with a similar problem with any kind of medication that needs to prescribed by a specialist). We should ask @anongoodnurse for help with the tags and perhaps with the answer as well :-). Best of luck ;-)!
    – Lucky
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


Many primary care practitioners have not received training in the evaluation and treatment of patients who are transitioning.

I went to my doctor's office to be prescribed to HRT medications, but my doctor said he's not qualified to prescribe it. Is that possible?

Yes, it's possible in that he may not believe he's qualified to prescribe HRT for a transitioning female. Treating transitioning females hormonally is not a common occurrence, and doctors are allowed to refuse to treat conditions they're unfamiliar or (medically) uncomfortable with.

Transsexual patients often have difficulty finding care because many physicians are not comfortable prescribing appropriate hormone regimens. Management of hormones for transsexual patients is not difficult, and these medications are safer than many therapies routinely prescribed by the primary care physician. The diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) must be established by an experienced mental health professional prior to consideration for hormonal management.

Once this has been done, a specialist can easily communicate the treatment regimen to be followed, but it's really up to the individual physician to do so. Most will. Some won't. In that case, a reasonable physician will refer to a colleague who does do so.

There should not be any financial repercussions for you.

Clinical Update: Medical Care of Transsexual Patients

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