A report on New Scientist discloses that a 30-year-old woman has become the first officially documented transgender woman to breastfeed a baby. According to the report, an experimental three-and-a-half month treatment regime enabled the woman to produce 227 grams of milk a day. The treatment included hormones, a nausea drug, and breast stimulation with a breast pump.
The transgender woman had been receiving hormonal treatments for several years before the lactation treatment, according to the report. The treatment regime included spironolactone, which blocks the effects of testosterone and progesterone and a type oestrogen. The treatment stimulated the development of breasts that looked fully grown, large enough for the production of milk.
The report also says that the transgender woman sought medical treatment when her partner was five-and-a-half months pregnant and unwilling to breastfeed. The woman decided to step in, seeking treatment at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York. The treatment was carried out by Tamar Reisman and Zil Goldstein at the medical center.
Normally, the production of breast milk is stimulated by a hormone called prolactin in women that have just given birth. However, because the hormone is not available as a lab product, the doctors used the nausea drug domperidone as an alternative. Domperidone is not recommended for the use of milk production according to the FDA. The drug was administered to the woman with increasing doses of oestrogen, progesterone, and spironolactone. This was followed by the stimulation of her breasts with a breast pump.
The report claims that the woman was able to experience mild droplets after a month of treatment. And after three months she was able to produce 227 grams of milk per day which is below the daily average of 500 grams. The insufficiency of the breast milk caused the woman to supplement the breastfeeding with formula after six weeks.
This groundbreaking development could be of great benefit to transgender women and also women with difficulty in breastfeeding. The transgender woman’s breast milk is yet to be analyzed to determine the mix of components according to the report. In response to the development, Madeline Deutsch, a transgender woman at the University of California, San Fransisco points out some issues. For example, the long-term impacts of this milk on the baby, including on subtle measures like IQ, is unknown. Deutsch has a six-month-old baby who is being breastfed by her partner.