VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A new study, the first of its kind, has found that transgender youth get pregnant at about the same rate as the general youth population, the Province, a newspaper in British Columbia, reports.
Using the Canadian Transgender Youth Health Survey of 540 youth from across the country, the study’s authors found that about one in 20 sexually experienced transgender youth aged 14-25 had become pregnant, or caused a pregnancy, at least once, the article said.
That rate matches the five percent of sexually active youths in B.C. who have become, or have caused someone to become, pregnant, the study’s authors said.
The result is surprising, Elizabeth Saewyc, the study’s senior author, said.
“To a great degree, many clinicians working with trans youth don’t necessarily see them as sexually active, or sexually active in ways that could lead to pregnancy,” Saewyc, a professor of nursing at UBC, told the Province. “And if you’re taking hormones it’s assumed they reduce fertility so even if you are sexually active you won’t get pregnant.
The study has just been published in the International Journal of Transgenderism, an academic peer-reviewed publication of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
One possible reason such a study had not been undertaken before is that transgender youth are often in distress, a disorder known as gender dysphoria.
The numbers are important, Saewyc said, because it means health care providers need to be counseling transgender youth about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases just as much as they do youth in general.
“It shatters the notion that trans youth aren’t at risk for pregnancy, perhaps because they’re receiving hormones that tend to reduce fertility or because people assume they aren’t sexually active,” she told the Province.