NEW YORK — A 30-year-old transgender woman has become the first officially known to have breastfed her baby, New Scientist reports.
An experimental three-and-a-half-month treatment regimen, which included hormones, a nausea drug and breast stimulation, enabled the woman to produce 227 grams of milk a day.
“This is a very big deal,” says Joshua Safer of Boston Medical Center, who was not involved with the treatment. “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.”
The transgender woman had been receiving hormonal treatments for several years before she started the lactation treatment. These included spironolactone, which is thought to block the effects of testosterone, and progesterone and a type of estrogen.
This regimen enabled her to develop breasts that looked fully grown based on appearance. She had not had any breast augmentation surgery, New Scientist reports.
When her partner was five-and-a-half-months pregnant, the woman sought medical treatment at Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City. Her partner had no interest in breastfeeding, so she opted to take on that role instead, New Scientist reports.
A hormone called prolactin usually stimulates the production of breastmilk in women who have just given birth, but this chemical isn’t available as a lab-made drug. Instead, the woman decided to try using a nausea drug called domperidone to trigger breastmilk.
There’s anecdotal evidence that this drug may boost milk production, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has previously warned that it shouldn’t be used for this purpose.
She took it with increasing doses of the hormones estrogen, progesterone and spironolactone. At the same time, she began to use a breast pump to stimulate her breasts, New Scientist reports.
Within a month, the woman was able to express milk droplets. After three months of treatment, this increased to 227 grams of breast milk per day. Once the baby was born, she was able to exclusively breastfeed the infant for six weeks, during which time a paediatrician confirmed the baby was growing and developing normally and healthily, the article notes.