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When Jay Thomas, 33, decided he wanted to get pregnant inhe spoke to his physician. Thomas, a cook who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, explained to his doctor that he and his wife, Jamie Brewster, 33, a bank employee, are both transgender, and that he had been on testosterone for more than pooking years.
The physician said Thomas had likely gone through early menopause, and that if they were able to conceive at all, he would have to go off the hormone for at wo,an 18 months. One of the most persistent myths transgender men and nonbinary people hear from doctors is that testosterone has sterilized them, experts say.
While testosterone generally blocks ovulation, trans men can get pregnant while taking it, particularly if they are not taking it regularly. There is no data on how many transgender men and nonbinary people give birth in the United States each year, because medical systems track them as female, but experts believe the s are likely higher than many would expect. The of people who identify as transgender is growing: A study from the Williams Institute found that 1.
S identify as transgender, which was double the estimate based on data from a decade earlier. And a Dutch study published in the journal Human Reproduction in found that a majority of trans men reported wanting families.
But doctors, nurses and medical office staff are still adjusting to the idea that those who are pregnant may not identify as women. The consequences can be dire. A recently published case study described a transgender man who went to an emergency room with wman abdominal pain — but doctors were slow to realize that he was pregnant and in danger.
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The man delivered a stillborn baby several hours later. The issue extends to all types of medical care for transgender and nonbinary people, not only to prenatal care, said Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, director of the National LGBT Health Education Center at Fenway Health, which educates health care organizations on how to care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. A report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy institute, found that 29 percent of trans people reported that a medical provider had refused to see them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the year, and 21 percent of trans respondents said a provider had used harsh or abusive language when they sought medical care.
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Download the NBC News app for breaking news. That lack of awareness can cause trans people to avoid doctors.
According to a report in the journal Medical Careabout 30 percent of trans people reported delaying or not seeking care due to discrimination. The need for trans people to constantly explain themselves to doctors and other medical staff can be draining.
Ethan Clift, 36, and his wife Allison Clift-Jennings, 41, who are both transgender, decided in that they wanted biological children. Clift, a lobbyist, also wanted to begin taking testosterone as part of his transition.
Because testosterone blocks ovulation, the couple, who live in Reno, Mwn, decided to freeze their embryos before Clift transitioned. Clift said pregnanf and nurses at the fertility clinic in Reno where he had his eggs harvested were well intentioned but struggled to get his pronouns right. He tried to correct them, he said, but it became too exhausting, so he gave up. Keuroghlian said this is a common experience of transgender men in medical settings.
According to a small study published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 22 percent of trans and nonbinary people said they chose to give birth at home with the assistance of a midwife or doula.
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Overall, just 1. Many trans and nonbinary people also look online for information about getting pregnant and giving birth.
A private Facebook group for trans men, which contains more than members, serves as a network for those looking for advice on how to plan families. Clift said he and his lokoing use Reddit and Instagram to find and share information with other trans and nonbinary people who are going through transition or pregnancy.
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For example, some trans men think they need to undergo hysterectomies because they have read that testosterone will cause uterine cancer, but there is no rigorous research supporting that, said Obedin-Maliver, who co-authored the Pride Studythe first nationwide report on the physical, mental and social health of LGBTQ people. Rupal Yu, a family physician for Piedmont Health Services, which implemented training in all 12 of its North Carolina centers, recalled a young trans man who came to her for care prior to the training.
She said she was surprised at how little she understood about trans patients, both socially and medically. But providers who strive to be more inclusive can face criticism from non-transgender clients, including on social media, said Maya Scott-Chung, program director for SprOUT Family, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ people through the family building process.
Pregnant trans men and nonbinary people also fight battles within their own bodies.
Thomas said pregnancy reignited his dysphoria, the sense of disconnect transgender people womam between their bodies and their gender identity. The surgeon who had done his mastectomy neglected to remove all of the glands in his chest, he said, which caused some of the tissue to return as the pregnancy progressed. After giving birth, Thomas experienced postpartum depression, but he began to feel better over time after going back on testosterone.
Thomas said nothing about having — even his dysphoria — changed how he saw himself as a man. Julie Compton is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York.
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IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. News Opinion Business World. Follow NBC News. Raising the world and an intersex child Oct. Julie Compton.