Experts say trans men should be supported to breastfeed their children if they choose to do so.
New draft guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) says that trans men should be asked about their preferred mode of feeding before the baby is born, and those who decide to breastfeed should be offered “breastfeeding support in the same way as cis- women”.
The guide covers the care of trans and gender diverse people through childbirth, contraception, fertility, gynecological procedures and cancer treatment and care.
The document, which has been submitted for consultation, makes a number of recommendations to help improve care.
What is breastfeeding?
Physically, breastfeeding is exactly the same as breastfeeding. Hormones cause the body to produce milk, which travels through glands and ducts that end at the nipple to feed the baby.
Breastfeeding is practiced in the community of people who have recently given birth but do not identify themselves as women. They may be transgender people who were assigned female at birth but who now identify as male, or people who are non-binary.
People who identify as women may also choose to “breastfeed” because of physical or emotional trauma related to their breasts. For them, the word “breast” is not as exciting as “breast”.
It also says that trans and gender diverse people should be given fertility preservation advice when considering gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.
It recommends that transgender men who become pregnant while on male hormone therapy should stop taking the hormones “as soon as possible”, while those planning to become pregnant should stop their treatment three months before becoming pregnant.
And it calls on healthcare providers to be aware that trans and gender diverse people often face barriers to accessing health services and to take steps to ensure they have easy access to care without “questioning their gender or violating their privacy”.
Use of preferred pronouns
The document also states that “gender-diverse people should be offered health screening in accordance with national public health policy and clinical guidelines” and that they should be addressed by their “preferred title, name and pronouns”.
It follows the government’s women’s health strategy, which said transgender men and non-binary people with female reproductive organs should always receive screening invitations to access cervical and breast cancer care programmes.
Barrier to care
RCOG president Dr Edward Morris said trans and gender diverse people say they “often feel judged and misunderstood by the health service”.
This, he said, has created a barrier to access to vital care.
“We as healthcare professionals have a role to play in making them feel heard and recognized,” she added.
Commenting on the guidance, which is open for consultation until September 6, Asha Kasliwal, chair of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, said there were a number of cases where “the health needs of gender diverse people have not been properly understood and assessed”.
The guidelines were expected to “seek to break down barriers and improve experiences” for trans and gender diverse people accessing obstetrics and gynecology services.
But Claire Ettinghausen, from the Department of Human Fertilization and Embryology, said there was “a lot of work to do” to make healthcare fully inclusive.
“It is important that a diverse group of voices informs this work further so that the guidance can be finalized and put into practice and begin to make a difference,” he said.
“Treatment can be a very emotional experience, so we also recommend that anyone considering fertility treatment has the right support.”
Trans men should be supported to ‘breastfeed’ their babies, new guidance urges | UK news
Source Trans men should be supported to ‘breastfeed’ their babies, new guidance urges | UK news