The Mt Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery has induced lactation in a transgender woman who has not had sex-reassignment surgery or breast augmentation; in other words, a biologically correct man who was taking hormones and wanted to nurse the baby born to ze’s partner who is female but didn’t want to nurse. The staff at Mt. Sinai advised this couple on how to acquire and use domperidone, a drug that is not FDA approved, not available in the U.S. and one for which the FDA has issued warnings against serious cardiac problems including death. The team leaders who directed this experimental procedure are an endocrinologist who is committed to the health of the LGBT community and a nurse-practitioner who is an activist transgender woman herself.
After treatment, the patient was able to nurse the newborn infant for a period of six weeks. This “breakthrough” case was written up and published in Transgender Health which admits that it remains unclear whether this fluid is nutritionally equivalent to the milk produced by biological birth mothers. The NY Times (Feb 16) describes at length the advantages of breast feeding - including healthier babies with higher I.Q.’s , better bonding with the mother (in this case, a biological male) and even money-saving on formula. There is no mention of how much the transgender nursing woman spends on hormones compared with infant formula, but ze continues to use a testosterone blocker which is excreted in human milk.
Aside from noting that “some” called this experiment dangerous and disturbing, the Times does not elaborate on whether the “some” are medical professionals or simply ordinary people who may be astounded at the hospital’s sponsorship and supervision of an experiment using a drug considered unsafe and forbidden for sale in the U.S. Furthermore, the Times never questions whether a human infant is the right subject for such experimentation which may be toxic for adults. Do any of us still remember the outrage over testing mascara on innocent rabbits? Are some of us old enough to remember the consequences of using a popular drug prescribed by doctors for morning sickness in pregnant women - thalidomide? Or a drug used by pregnant women which resulted in ovarian cancer in their daughters decades later? Shouldn’t this controversial liquid have been fed to a lab animal for a significant period of time before contemplating feeding it to a human? Are researchers who are activists or medically committed to the needs and wants of the LGBT community the most objective people to weigh the potential harm to an infant versus the political gain to the transgender movement?
There is a world of difference between what adults choose to put into their bodies with questionable medical repercussions and the ethics of doctors supervising experiments which directly impact infants who are fragile and cannot give consent. We are not told what the Ethics Board of Mt. Sinai has to say - perhaps that will await the first lawsuit which is sure to come.
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