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Transgender men and pregnancy: an informed perspective

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posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 11:29 AM
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Certain UK tabloids have attempted to sensationalise this topic recently and a quick search reveals this is also the case in the US. Like many transgender issues this is not something new, its been around far longer than the MSM would have you believe. This is not a derogatory thread and I hope any discussion can move past gut instincts and subsequent value judgements. I am reminded of TrueBrits words from another thread "above all else we are human first". Some of us on ATS like to explore and question transgender issues in a positive way to further personal understanding. My thread is aimed at these individuals.

I actually thought about this issue around eighteen months ago. Is the desire to have the male gender in conflict with the desire to have children? I don't mean 'desire' in the superficial sense. After further thought I realised these are both very real fundamental needs to some individuals. I contemplated these needs battling for superiority with a notion of compromise occurring ie there is a need to temporarily sacrifice gender identity. Another issue which may muddy the waters on this topic is the perception of masculine and feminine roles. For example, is pregnancy a feminine role? If so is a female who cannot conceive not able able to be feminine? I was also interested in how testosterone maintenance fits into the equation.

There is a popular misconception that transitioning transgender males cannot conceive. For any readers that are confused about my thread, transgender male pregnancy relates to individuals who have transitioned in various stages to the male gender but opt to retain female reproductive organs (for various reasons not solely future child-bearing). Unplanned pregnancies can also occur if the individual is also bisexual. Wikipedia has a page on transgender pregnancy here

I could only find one research study on this topic from 2014. I currently don't have access to online medical databases so unsure of other studies (several are cited). The study has both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies (via online encrypted survey questions) although the sample size was small (41). The qualitative methodology used is Grounded Theory which I remember from my university days (working theories develop from analysing the data). I would imagine the emerging findings from this study would be a basis for further research on a bigger scale. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study.

The data suggests that inherent gender identity is never lost. Some individuals consciously struggle to retain gender identity successfully during pregnancy while some do not. There are differing levels of psychological/emotional adaptation to pregnancy exacerbated by self-enforced gender dysphoria (pregnancy), barriers to health care, isolation and social hostility. Depression (peri and post-partum) is also a feature with some individuals. Obviously cis female peri/post-partum depression needs to be factored into the equation. Are individuals who are susceptible to partum depression exacerbated by trans male pregnancy or is a feature on its own?

Some of the stats:


Twenty-five (61%) transgender men reported using testosterone before pregnancy. Among those who had used testosterone, 20 (80%) reported resuming menstruation within 6 months after stopping testosterone. Five participants (20%) conceived while still amenorrheic from testosterone use. After pregnancy, six (38%) participants who had not previously used testosterone before pregnancy initiated use. Ten participants (40%) who had been on previously testosterone reported that they had not yet resumed testosterone use after pregnancy.

Two thirds of pregnancies were planned (Table 3). Before the most recent pregnancy, condoms were the most common form of contraception followed by no form of contraception and abstinence (defined as not engaging in penile–vaginal intercourse). Those who had previously used testosterone were more likely to report no contraceptive use or abstinence, whereas those who had not used testosterone were more likely to use a hormonal contraceptive method (P=.03). The majority of oocytes came from the participants' own ovaries, whereas the majority of sperm came from a significant other or spouse. Most transgender men became pregnant within 4 months of trying, only 15% had a preconception medical consultation, and 7% used fertility drugs to become pregnant.



Many participants discussed their pregnancy in the context of family structure. For some, pregnancy was a necessary step in creating the family they desired: “I looked at it as something to endure to have a child” (36-year-old, prior testosterone use). Others described the pregnancy in pragmatic terms, possibly as a way to avoid gender dissonance: “Like my body was a workshop, building up this little kid” (35-year-old, prior testosterone use). Another participant found a way to embrace the pregnancy, describing the pregnancy and birth as a bridge to fatherhood: “Pregnancy and childbirth were very male experiences for me. When I birthed my children, I was born into fatherhood” (29-year-old, no prior testosterone use). Participants often used words such as “dad,” “carrier,” and “gestational parent” to affirm their male gender identity and describe their parenting role.



Another theme that emerged was the relationship between gender dysphoria and pregnancy. Some participants reported improvements in gender dysphoria, feeling new connections with their bodies: “It was relieving to feel comfortable in the body I'd been born with” (20-year-old, no prior testosterone use). Others felt an increase in dysphoria, and for some, that dysphoria continued into the postpartum period: “Heavy time, having a baby, not passing as male, all the changes and a society telling me to just be happy” (35-year-old, prior testosterone use). Combined with feelings of isolation postpartum, many participants specifically mentioned having postpartum depression. “Began to show symptoms of postpartum depression long before anyone discussed symptoms to watch for… Began researching and working through postpartum depression issues independently; found no professional with familiarity with ‘trans/genderqueer’ gestational parents” (28-year-old, prior testosterone use). As mentioned, the depression seemed amplified by a lack of gender-sensitive resources for postpartum depression.


Study

The study link address is not resolving for some reason. It can be found here

journals.lww.com...


edit on 6-2-2017 by Morrad because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 11:31 AM
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Why would any guy in their right mind want to have a baby. It's bad enough when our wives have to deal with it. I'll stick to fixing things and working hard.



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse



I'll stick to fixing things and working hard.


I love the implication here that working hard is something women are incapable of, as men are incapable of pregnancy.
edit on 6-2-2017 by MrSensible because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 12:25 PM
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originally posted by: MrSensible
a reply to: rickymouse



I'll stick to fixing things and working hard.


I love the implication here that working hard is something women are incapable of, as men are incapable of pregnancy.


Where in his post do you see a single comment about women and work? Ricky is referring only to himself, and his standard of work. There is no mention of women. No insult is made or implied.

How did we get so many people on this Earth who will create an insult out of thin air with absolutely no basis in reality?



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 12:39 PM
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I have to say it is not an easy situation to get anyone's head around....

My sympathies lie with the children, early sex education, and the

birds and bees must be very confusing to those children caught up in

relationships where they have two fathers or two mothers.... where

both males are husbands or where one is husband and the other wife.

Vise-versa with two women, and including all other variations.


Why if a woman is going to transgender, but wants to have her own

children does she not wait till after giving birth?...... Again confusing

for the little ones??

For someone who wants/needs to be the opposite sex, I am confused as

to WHY they would want to keep any of the organs which are gender

defining

edit on 6-2-2017 by eletheia because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 02:19 PM
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a reply to: eletheia

A meta-analysis of 51 studies shows that children of a transgender parent have a similar quality of life as children from cis parents. These finding are also mirrored with children from same-sex couples. These children are also more open and tolerant from what I have read.


While transgender parents and their children may face unique challenges and discrimination, research shows that transgender parent-child relationships and child development appear to be similar to that of any other family


Research Suggests that Substantial Numbers of Transgender People are Parents and Report Positive Parenting Experiences

In answer to your second question, some do just that. Around 3 years ago, prior to to becoming interested in this subject, I had the same mindset ie child-bearing organs/pregnancy is in complete contradiction to transgender male transition.

I think the way to perceive this correctly is comparing a young cis female, who due to pathology, is forced to have a hysterosalpingo-oophorectomy. The chance to bear children disappears. This impacts individuals in different ways. Also testosterone therapy is not exclusive to full surgical transition.

ETA:

In relation to single-sex couples, the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study has been running since the 80s. There are numerous publications published here:

NLLFS


edit on 6-2-2017 by Morrad because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 02:21 PM
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Has anyone given thought to what the impact of the residual hormonal levels might be on the infant?

For example, it has been speculated that girls like myself who grow to be hyper competitive are exposed to more testosterone in utero. A longer than normal ring finger is one signb of this and indeed, my ring finger is very long for a woman and I was very much into sports.

But is there a point where this could be damaging or impact a child's own gender identity or sexual formation?



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 02:37 PM
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I forgot to mention that taking testosterone increases risk for breast cancer, even after bilateral mastectomy as breast cells may remain. This is a major concern and a reason why some some transgender males refuse hormone treatment.

ETA Also potential risk of uterine cancer.


edit on 6-2-2017 by Morrad because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 02:43 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

A good question. I have no idea. Transgender clinics warns against testosterone therapy as a birth control method. I will try to find some info on this as I'm interested as well.



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 03:19 PM
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a reply to: eletheia

You may find this interesting. A catalogue of untoward effects from androgen therapy. It also mentions the risks of osteoporosis following oophorectomy (ovary removal). When confronted with these effects it becomes clearer why some transgender males opt not to go down this route.

Wikipedia: Hormone replacement therapy (female-to-male)


edit on 6-2-2017 by Morrad because: spelling



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 04:23 PM
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One question.

How do you KNOW (caps in lieu of not feeling like italics) that they, as it was put in the research and your post, "maintain a sense of identity" or not. Is there any way to measure this stuff? Some kind of machine made from a pasta bowl with holes and metal filaments stuck to a meter?? It's all based from what I can tell, off of what a person says about themselves or in other words, trust. Which is i guess what the movement (or crowd) around this is, but it still seems like someone is trying to convince us of something about some very special people, and it seems kind of niche. As a gay male I'd think you would be not so..drawn towards it either but what do I know. I mean it's a text about a whole lot of different female things..



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 04:34 PM
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originally posted by: Morrad
A meta-analysis of 51 studies shows that children of a transgender parent have a similar quality of life as children from cis parents. These finding are also mirrored with children from same-sex couples. These children are also more open and tolerant from what I have read.


51 studies? hardly a drop in the ocean! I have actual experience of a couple

which did not bode well for the children.... including selective mutism, self

harming, and physiatric treatment..... again 51 case studies?



While transgender parents and their children may face unique challenges and discrimination, research shows that transgender parent-child relationships and child development appear to be similar to that of any other family


I'm not convinced having seen it first hand.




In answer to your second question, some do just that. Around 3 years ago, prior to to becoming interested in this subject, I had the same mindset ie child-bearing organs/pregnancy is in complete contradiction to transgender male transition.

I think the way to perceive this correctly is comparing a young cis female, who due to pathology, is forced to have a hysterosalpingo-oophorectomy. The chance to bear children disappears. This impacts individuals in different ways. Also testosterone therapy is not exclusive to full surgical transition.


When my child bearing years were coming to an end, medically I was advised

a hysterectomy which I could have had on the NHS however I paid for a

myomectomy due to wanting to keep my female organs even when the were

passed by their sell by date, Loll!!



In relation to single-sex couples, the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study has been running since the 80s. There are numerous publications published here:


I have in many ways been around children all my life, and they are adaptable

and accepting but that doesn't take away from confusion?
edit on 6-2-2017 by eletheia because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 04:52 PM
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originally posted by: Morrad

You may find this interesting. A catalogue of untoward effects from androgen therapy. It also mentions the risks of osteoporosis following oophorectomy (ovary removal). When confronted with these effects it becomes clearer why some transgender males opt not to go down this route.



All that is the consequences of what it is to be female .....science and medicine

can work miracles, but the bottom line is you are stuck with what nature gave

you.....

ie. If you enhance your breasts.....you get bigger breasts.... but its still only

silicone.



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 05:12 PM
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a reply to: breakingbs

Isn't that the same as saying we have to 'trust' people's experience of pain or debilitating illness? Qualitative research relates to subjective experience ie it isn't objectively quantifiable.

Let me give you an example. Most hospitals in the UK use a pain score to determine level of discomfort (say for example 0 = no pain, 10 = worst pain imaginable). What does this score say objectively? Absolutely nothing. If the worst pain experienced by an individual is a sprained ankle then this will be his marker for a score of 10. Add dental pain into that individuals experience then the ankle sprain would decrease to maybe 6. Add childbirth or pancreatic pain or renal colic and that initial assessment of 10 will most likely drop to a 1 or 2. If its not objectively quantifiable, does it become invalid? Of course not, its the individuals experience of pain.

I don't think I have ever posted anything suggesting transgender are special. I'm a classical rather than progressive liberal (I mentioned this in a UK related post last week). You are being presumptuous.

As for a niche, do you seriously believe you speak for everyone reading threads on ATS? I read the paranormal and UFO threads but I don't comment a great deal. Flags are a piss poor representation on ATS. If you think differently then I can only laugh.

In one of my nursing posts I recovered transgender females following surgery in post-anaesthetic care. This is where my interest comes from. I have no interest in feminine 'things' as you put it. The transgender surgeons I worked with were heterosexual males. Does this mean they are interested in feminine things? Seriously you make me laugh.

Really poor attempt at a dig buddy. Try harder next time if this is how you stroke your ego.




edit on 6-2-2017 by Morrad because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 06:13 PM
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originally posted by: MrSensible
a reply to: rickymouse



I'll stick to fixing things and working hard.


I love the implication here that working hard is something women are incapable of, as men are incapable of pregnancy.


I worked out in below zero weather in winter, I worked during snowstorms outside many times, not in a nice warm truck, working on ladders on side of a house or up on the top of a roof full of snow. Not many guys would do that kind of work I did let alone women.



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 06:39 PM
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a reply to: Morrad

Lol. Okay.

But I never said anything about "flags."


Heheh. It's all good. Or maybe that's presumptuous too.


I would think a pain score is more subject to general subjectivity within an immediate acute experience as opposed to a circumstance of complete subjectivity such as daily perceptions might be vulnerable to more psychological add-ons as a variable, or even cause of said discomforts, as in: people in acute pain have less time to think about it or mistake the cause of said discomforts, and are less prone to for instance, hypochondria or other displaced wanderings of mood.

But what do I know?




And yes I've an inherent bias to a conspiracy site being about, you know, ufos and such..





(Dont take that last one too personally, I really don't care what you type heheh)
edit on 6-2-2017 by breakingbs because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 06:57 PM
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a reply to: eletheia

Hang on a second. Are you seriously going to dismiss 51 studies, without even looking at them, in favour of one isolated incident? Are you seriously going to suggest that your fibroid diagnosis and treatment pathway are representative of all females that have this condition?

Seriously, smiley faces all over the place eletheia. The only person its really convincing is you! This subject really grates on you for some reason doesn't it! I have no problem with that but you need to throw something tangible at me not twaddle.



but the bottom line is you are stuck with what nature gave you..... grinning face


That comes across as a sick aberrant smug gesture. Am I misreading you?



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 07:06 PM
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originally posted by: Morrad
a reply to: eletheia



That comes across as a sick aberrant smug gesture. Am I misreading you?




It does look kind of like a smug gesture to me. I have yet to determine however, if she is indeed "sick" or as you might term it "aberrant".


; )
edit on 6-2-2017 by breakingbs because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 07:15 PM
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a reply to: breakingbs


I really don't care what you type lol


But you had an overwhelming need to respond to my post (lol)

You just made yourself look rather silly attempting to state something which is very simplistic (and false by the way) in such a dramatic hyperbolic use of words. My first laugh of the week. Thank you.



Dont take that last one too personally


I never take anything personally on an anonymous message board.



posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 07:20 PM
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a reply to: Morrad

Okay, just for one note:

I never go for the "but you had a need to respond to my post..." comment. It's redundant, in the most part, I mean. A sparring match is a sparring match. Why even point it out? Would you like me to go?...





edit on 6-2-2017 by breakingbs because: totally added another smiley face...



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