Transgender Woman Successfully Breastfeeds Baby in First Documented Case

The patient was taking feminising hormones but had not undergone gender reassignment surgery

A new technique developed by Tamar Reisman and Zil Goldstein at Mount Sinai's Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery marks "the first time medical professionals have worked towards the same goal and published their results in a medical journal", according to a press release.

The 30-year-old woman, who hasn't been named, approached Tamar Reisman and Zil Goldstein from the Mount Sinai Centre for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in NY.

The drugs were able to trigger lactation in the body, allowing the woman to breastfeed her son for the first six weeks of his life and it was the baby's only source of food in that time, with physicians saying he is growing normally. The patient instead made a decision to take on the role of being the primary food source for her infant. The patient obtained the drug from Canada.

Doctor Reisman said that she was happy to have helped her patient achieve her wish.

The study showed that the patient underwent a treatment with the female hormones progesterone and estradiol, stimulating her chest with a breast milk pump, and intake of domperidone - a nausea medication known to increase milk production and suppress testosterone for three and half months. Her first follow-up visit was after a month. Slowly, the doctors increased her domperidone and hormone dosages along with her breast pumping sessions. Thanks to their efforts, a transgender woman was able to successfully - and exclusively - breastfed her newborn for six weeks. It's possible that the breast pump, which was used six times a day during the treatment phase, increased the patient's prolactin levels independently of the domperidone, report the researchers. "That doesn't mean that all patients have to want to breastfeed, but for this patient, in particular, it was the right choice and I'm happy we could help", she added.

The woman, concerned that her breastmilk volume was not enough, supplemented her child's food with four to eight oz of Similac brand formula.

The document also shared that after six weeks, the patient began supplementing with formula every day to due concerns about milk production. She also continues to adhere to the medication regiment prescribed to her. They believe that the case was the first formally reported in medical literature of induced lactation in a transgender woman.

Thomas, a pediatrician and lactation consultant for Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, said the regimen used in the case study is similar to the one used for mothers who can not produce milk on their own, except for the spironolactone needed to block testosterone. Safer is not involved with the treatment.

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