Published: Sat, February 17, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Transgender woman becomes the world's first to breastfeed her baby

Transgender woman becomes the world's first to breastfeed her baby

The idea came about when the the anonymous transgender woman's partner, who carried the child, decided against breastfeeding, so the 30-year-old approached doctors who then conceived the idea.

After three months, the woman could produce 8 ounces of milk per day, enough to keep her baby healthy and developing normally for six weeks, though the average baby consumes more than twice that daily.

The patient had been transitioning with hormones since 2011 but had not undergone any feminising surgery such as vaginoplasty or breast augmentation.

The woman, who is unnamed, was able to feed her baby breastmilk for six weeks, after undergoing hormone treatment.

For six months straight, she had received feminizing hormone therapy to help produce lactation prior to visiting the clinic.

The patient was given additional supplements to induce lactation and told to use a breast pump, the study said.

The patient, who has not been named, chose to try and breastfeed their child as their partner, who conceived, decided that they did not want to.

It's not known if the breast milk produced under the regimen is the same as milk produced after giving birth.

Doctor Tamar Reisman and nurse practitioner Zil Goldstein at Mt Sinai's Centre for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, thought outside the box, and helped the woman to achieve lactation by using "off-label drugs" - those which are developed for reasons other than their use.

While this case is the first to have been submitted to a medical journal, transgender women have been self-medicating to induce lactation for a long time.

"The human body is incredibly adaptable, and milk production is a very robust system", Weeks said.

She also obtained an anti-nausea drug called domperidone from Canada that is used off-label to boost milk production. Wanting to ramp things up a little more, Reisman and Goldstein increased both her hormones and her domperidone intake.

Dr Jayasena added: "What we really need to do is pool together these cases and share our knowledge, to find the best recipe for breastfeeding in these patients without exposing them to any health risks".

Domperidone is used internationally but it is not approved in the U.S., because in some intravenous instances it produced cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest and sudden death. This was the first documented case and is definitely a big breakthrough for doctors as well as for transgender men and women who want to have the maximum experience of parenthood. But she continued to take the drug spironolactone, which blocks testosterone and "is excreted in human milk", the study said.

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