A transgender woman in the U.S. has used experimental hormone and drug treatments to become the first in the world to breastfeed a baby, New Scientist reported.
The unidentified 30-year-old had been receiving feminizing hormonal treatments for several years before beginning a regimen that included additional hormones, a nausea drug, and breast stimulation.
The transgender woman's partner had no interest in breastfeeding, but the transgender woman did. When her partner was about six months pregnant, she sought treatment from Dr. Tamar Reisman and nurse Zil Goldstein at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York.
After 3 1/2 months of treatment, the woman was able to produce about eight ounces of milk per day and appeared to have fully developed breasts, according to a medical scale that assesses breast development.
“This is the first step toward standardizing care for transgender mothers and building happy, healthy, transgender families," Reisman told the Sun.
The woman has not undergone breast augmentation or gender reassignment surgery.
What was the treatment?
The regimen included spironolactone, which is used to block the effects of testosterone, progesterone, and oestrogen, a type of estrogen.
Prolactin is often used to stimulate breastmilk production in women who have just given birth, but the hormone isn’t available as a lab-made drug.
Instead, she used domperidone, a nausea drug, which has anecdotal evidence showing it may boost milk production. She purchased the drug from Canada because it is not available in the U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration previously warned against using domperidone for any purpose, citing safety concerns.
How long did she feed the baby?
The woman exclusively breastfed the baby, who was 6 pounds, 13 ounces at birth, for six weeks. After six weeks, the woman supplemented her breast milk with formula.
Is the baby healthy?
The baby's pediatrician reported that the baby's feeding and growth are normal, the Sun reported.
It's not clear if the woman's breastmilk has the same qualities as new gestational mothers, experts said, and the long-term effects on the baby are unknown.