First case report of transgender woman breastfeeding an infant
Modest but functional lactation can be induced in transgender women
In another step forward in the transgender movement, a trans woman (a natal male) has been helped to breast-feed her partner’s baby.
The 30-year-old woman sought help from Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City. Her partner did not want to breastfeed and she wanted to assist. Although she had not had gender-reassignment surgery, after years of taking medication, she had well-developed breasts.
From chatter on internet forums, it appears that trans women are experimenting with drugs to help them lactate. This person took an anti-nausea drug called domperidone which is used off-label to trigger breast milk, in combination with feminising hormones oestrogen, progesterone and spironolactone.
As a result she was eventually producing 227 grams of breast milk a day. This is below the 500 grams that babies need so she had to supplement it with formula. The authors of the study in the journal Transgender Health concluded that “modest but functional lactation can be induced in transgender women”.
“This is a very big deal,” says Joshua Safer of Boston Medical Center, told New Scientist. “Many transgender women are looking to have as many of the experiences of non-transgender women as they can, so I can see this will be extremely popular.”
While this development was greeted with great enthusiasm, further studies are needed to ensure that it is safe. Domperidone is associated with cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and sudden death when used intravenously. There are reports that spironolactone is associated with tumours in rats. There may be other, long term effects, such influencing the child’s IQ.
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