Transgender woman becomes first to breastfeed her baby despite not giving birth

Faith Castro
February 17, 2018

The team of doctors noted that the woman had not undergone any gender reassignment surgeries such as breast augmentation or vaginoplasty which would have triggered hormonal changes.

She put the trans woman on a specially concocted type of hormone replacement therapy using Domperidone, which has not been approved by the American Federal drugs Agency, for the three and a half months leading up to the birth. So she turned to doctors at Mt Sinai's Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery to seek help. After the child was born, the patient could produce 227 grams of milk a day and sufficiently breastfed for six weeks. The result was detailed in a case study published by the journal Transgender Health.

After taking female hormones, medication to block male hormones, a drug to induce milk production and regular use of a breast pump the patient was able to feed the child herself.

Breast milk is considered the best form of nutrition for infants. However, there is so much more to breastfeeding than producing milk.

Doctors said the case shows "modest but functional lactation can be induced in transgender women".

By three months into the regimen, the patient was making eight ounces of breast milk every day. The dosages were reportedly obtained from Canada.

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Only a month after her regimen began, the woman was able to "express droplets of milk".

The baby's growth and feeding habits were all normal, said the report. She explained that her partner was pregnant but had no plans to breastfeed.

"At the time of this article submission, the baby is approaching six months old", they write. Lactation can be induced in cisgender women who have not experienced a pregnancy through a framework which is used by doctors to promote lactation in patients and this is what Tamar Reisman and Zil Goldstein used. The mother continues to breastfeed as a supplement to formula feeding.

Late last year a transgender man also made history after giving birth to a healthy baby - five years after having his first child while living as a woman. The patient had been taking feminising hormone treatments for the past six years to develop fully grown breasts (Tanner stage v, according to the standard sexual maturity rating) using spironolactone, progesterone, and a type of estrogen.

Madeline Deutsch, director of clinical services at the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, believes there has not been adequate research on the matter.

Instead, they have turned to a little-known technique which was developed in 1999 to help a mother who wanted to breastfeed her son who was being born via a surrogate and posted online.

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