WASHINGTON — Double takes, hostility from strangers and health care providers and even reports to Child Protective Services were among the experiences reported by 41 transgender men who became pregnant according to a new study from Obstretrics and Gynecology reported by NPR.
There were plenty of insensitive comments and harsh experiences that troubled these men, both in and out of the health care setting, ranging from inappropriate use of pronouns to actually turning them away and denying prenatal care, NPR reports.
“They just feel a lot of isolation from the health care community,” said Dr. Jennifer Kerns, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco and the senior author. “And we have some indication from our qualitative results that depression might be exacerbated for folks who are transgender, both during pregnancy and after.”
The study came about because a medical student working with Kerns, Alexis Light, found herself fielding questions from transgender male friends about whether they’d be able to conceive and what pregnancy would be like.
Light, now a first-year resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Washington Hospital Center in D.C., didn’t know the answer and couldn’t find it in the medical literature. So she asked Kerns to help her design a research project to find out. Kerns recognized it as a cutting-edge subject, with a recent opinion paper from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists highlighting the need for high-quality health care for transgender individuals, NPR reports.
With such a small survey, it’s impossible draw firm conclusions; Kerns and Light both said more research is needed. But one thing they did learn was that prior testosterone use didn’t seem to affect pregnancy outcome. Some transgender men use testosterone to look and sound more masculine.