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Transgender woman first to breastfeed, report says

A transgender woman has become the first to breastfeed a baby, according to a new report. 

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Researchers from the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery recently conducted an experiment, published in Transgender Health, to determine how to cause lactation in a transgender woman. 

To do so, they worked with a 30-year-old who had been receiving hormonal treatments for several years. Her partner, who was carrying their baby, did not want to breastfeed, so she volunteered to take on the role instead.

To produce lactation, doctors prescribed her with 10 milligrams of domperidone, a drug that promotes lactation, three times a day. The medicine is illegal in the United States, so the dosages were obtained from Canada. 

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They also gave the patient progesterone, a steroid that plays a role in pregnancy and menstruation; and estradiol, a hormone that helps with breast development. The woman also used a breast pump for five minutes a day on each breast three times a day.

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By the end of the treatment, which lasted three and a half months, the patient developed what appeared to be fully grown breasts and was able to produce 227 grams of milk per day. 

“We believe that this is the first formal report in the medical literature of induced lactation in a transgender woman,” the authors wrote.

Although the scientists noted the average amount of milk produced by a woman is 500 grams, more than 200 grams was still significant. The child’s doctors said the infant’s growth, feeding and bowel habits were normal, and after six week’s the patient supplemented breastfeeding with formula to better support the baby’s continued growth.  

Researchers now hope to further their studies to improve their results and explore other possibilities. “Future investigation,” they said, “will be required to determine the optimal treatment regimen for induced lactation in transgender women.”

» RELATED: Breastfeeding could lower mom's risk of heart disease, stroke

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