Science 3 mins read

Meet the First Transgender Woman to Breastfeed a Baby

Doctors from the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York reportedly placed a transgender woman in an experimental treatment regimen over three months leading to her being able to produce 227 grams of milk a day.

Mother and Child (Kiss) | Jonathan Fenton | Flickr.com

Mother and Child (Kiss) | Jonathan Fenton | Flickr.com

Researchers have successfully given a transgender woman the ability to breastfeed her baby.

Doctors from the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York reportedly placed a transgender woman in an experimental treatment regimen over three months leading to her being able to produce 227 grams of milk a day.

According to reports, this is the first ever academically reported case of induced lactation in a transgender woman.

The 30-year-old patient, who was born a male, approached doctors from Mount Sinai and informed them she wanted to nurse her then pregnant partner’s baby.

Dr. Tamar Reisman and nurse practitioner Zil Goldstein gave the transwoman a regimen of drugs including an anti-nausea medication that is currently banned in the United States but licensed in Canada.

“After implementing a regimen of domperidone, estradiol, progesterone, and breast pumping, she was able to achieve sufficient breast milk volume to be the sole source of nourishment for her child for six weeks,” the researchers wrote in their paper published in the journal Transgender Health.

It was reported that a month into treatment, the transgender woman was able to produce droplets of milk. After three months, two weeks before the baby’s due date, she was producing eight ounces of milk each day.

Lactating Transgender Woman

The doctors involved said that the case shows that induced lactation is clinically possible for transgender women.

“Transgender medicine is becoming part of mainstream medicine. We’re getting more evidence-based data, we’re getting more standardized care, we’re getting more reproductive options,” Reisman was quoted as saying.

The transgender woman, who had taken hormone therapy for six years, had not undergone gender reassignment or breast augmentation before approaching the doctors.

In her treatment, she gradually took the female hormones progesterone and estradiol, used a breast milk pump to stimulate her chest, and took domperidone, a nausea medication known to increase milk production.

Domperidone has not been legally approved in the United States due to reports that intravenous shots have resulted in cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and, in some cases, sudden death. However, it has been licensed in the U.K. and Canada to treat nausea.

According to Reisman, it is possible to induce lactation even without domperidone through an optimized hormone regimen. It appears that chest stimulation could also naturally increase the milk-producing hormone known as prolactin.

“There have been self-reported cases online of transgender women trying DIY regiments to induce breastfeeding, but this is the first case of induced functional lactation in the academic literature,” Reisman said.

The researchers confirmed in their paper that the transgender woman was able to breastfeed the baby for the first six weeks after it was born. The baby’s pediatrician also said that “the child’s growth, feeding, and bowel habits were developmentally appropriate.”

However, the transwoman and her partner, later on, decided to use breastfeeding formulas as the milk she was producing was not enough to sustain the needs of the baby.

The experimental study was lauded by other medical researchers, one of which was Joshua Safer of Boston Medical Center. He said:

“This is a very big deal. 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.”

Do you think that men should be allowed to breastfeed babies by going through the same treatment regimen that the transgender woman took? 

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Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

Comments (7)
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  1. MichaelGC March 07 at 4:17 am GMT

    This story looks to be bogus. In the journal article, much detail was given to the transwoman’s drug dosages and bloodwork.
    However, even though this is supposed to be a groundbreaking study on male lactation, there was no analysis of the milk, even though this was going to be the only nutrition for a newborn baby for six weeks.
    It seems they would care about that.

    There is also a problem with the quantity. That’s about 8 ounces of milk, and a baby who is 6 lb + at birth requires much more than that.

    The nurse practitioner who was one of the authors of this study is a trans activist. Also, as some who work in the field of medical research have noted, there is no mention of involvement of the Institutional Research Board, a committee which reviews methods whenever humans are the subject of experiments. If the IRB was not involved to oversee this study, in which a banned drug was used to stimulate milk that would be secreted in the same milk and passed on to the baby, it would be a stunning ethical breech.

    As someone noted, “We have not yet heard the last about this study.”

    Indeed, the the advocacy media, including the two papers of record, The New York Times and the Washington Post, have done their worst with all their effusive, triumphalist gushing over this story.

    • Gabrielle Besnans July 20 at 4:37 am GMT

      Believe me. It’s real. And the milk tests extremely close to other human mother’s milk.

      A close friend, also trans, produced 12-16 ounces a day. Yes, she had to supplement. This process IS relatively new to our community… because it is treated as a taboo still. The process could be refined so we could produce more.

      • MichaelGC July 20 at 1:32 pm GMT

        And the milk tests extremely close to other human mother’s milk.

        What milk tests are you talking about? There were none. Have you even bothered to read the case report? Obviously not.

        Here, knock yourself out.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29372185

        • Gabrielle Besnans October 01 at 3:35 pm GMT

          MIchael … I’m talking about the tests I had done ON MY OWN MILK!!!

          But sure .. go ahead and dismiss an actual experience from an actual transwoman who actually pumped her own breast milk and who actually had comparative tests done.

          #Mansplaining and #CISplaining is JUST what I was looking for today.

          • MichaelGC October 01 at 8:27 pm GMT

            Cool. Did you give birth to a baby, too?

          • Gabrielle Besnans November 25 at 2:21 pm GMT

            No, Michael. I am also a transgender woman. Thank you for asking.

  2. Gabrielle Besnans July 20 at 4:37 am GMT

    First?!? FIRST?!?!?

    Not even remotely CLOSE to being the first. I am SO sick of this insidious addiction to “being first” in the trans community. I was pumping breast milk over two years ago. And I’M not even remotely close to being the first.

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