If you are looking for information related to transmasculine or non-binary pregnancy **(see definitions below), you might be hesitant to look at a website called MotherToBaby. You may be asking yourself, “How could this website be relevant to trans and non-binary pregnancies?”
Before MotherToBaby became part of our name, we were known as the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). While we still are called OTIS, people couldn’t get a sense of what we do from the long, somewhat scientific name. So, almost 10 years ago our organization created the more public-friendly name MotherToBaby. At that time, we couldn’t anticipate the needs of expanding gender identities. Before telling you what we do, I’ll start out by saying that OTIS/MotherToBaby recognizes that not all people identify as “men” or “women.” When using the term “mother,” we mean the source of the egg and/or uterus and by “father,” we mean the source of the sperm, regardless of the person’s gender identity.**
So, what DO we do? Our organization provides information about reproductive exposures during pregnancy or breastfeeding/chestfeeding. WHAT is meant by exposures? Exposures, in this case, refer to any substances, or environmental agents that someone can come into contact with. These exposures include medications, vaccines, chemicals, herbal products, substances of abuse, health conditions, workplace hazards, and more. You name it, OTIS/MotherToBaby provides reliable information about these agents, and anything else you might have a question about that’s related to exposure in pregnancy or lactation. And, this includes any exposure someone who produces sperm might have.
For non-cisgender parents**, finding information about exposures in pregnancy or while breastfeeding/chestfeeding can be extra challenging. Actually, it can be challenging for cisgender parents, too.
If planning a pregnancy, either through a sperm donor, a cisgender male, or through assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as IVF, you may have questions about medications you are taking. Maybe you take a medication that you need to take throughout pregnancy or have questions about a different kind of exposure, and want to know if it could affect pregnancy (or breastfeeding/chestfeeding). For example, a lot of people have questions about their hormone treatments related to the pregnancy. There may also be questions about whether a certain medication might affect fertility. We can help answer those questions.
Let’s talk about unplanned pregnancies for trans masculine and non-binary people. People with a vagina, ovaries, and a uterus may be capable of becoming pregnant with exposure to sperm. If you have started testosterone treatment, it’s likely that you have been briefed about the need for contraception. But accidents happen. There are cases of pregnancies happening in the early months of starting testosterone treatment. For some, it may be possible to ovulate and not have a period. Pregnancy can also happen if someone has missed a few testosterone shots and has not been consistent with contraception. When pregnancy happens this way, it may be a week, or weeks, before one even knows there’s a pregnancy. And, unplanned pregnancies happen for non-binary people and people who have not undertaken gender affirming medical treatments. When an unplanned pregnancy happens for a trans masculine/ non-binary person, there can be a cascade of pending pressures, including anxiety or discomfort about one’s sex at birth, or it can be a welcome opportunity – or some of both. There can be questions about whether something you take, took, need to take, or used could affect a pregnancy. Whether you are ready, willing, or able to talk to a healthcare provider about a reproductive exposure, or already have, we can help answer exposure-related questions. In fact, OTIS/MotherToBaby provides information to many healthcare providers.
Questions about exposures in pregnancy and breastfeeding/chestfeeding come up for anyone thinking about building a family, regardless of one’s gender. People want and need to be healthy and feel whole. And we all want healthy children. That is universal.
If you have questions about reproductive exposures, visit our library of fact sheets on many common (and not so common) agents of concern. MotherToBaby provides evidence-based, confidential, non-judgmental information specific to your questions. Reach us by phone, email, chat, or text. And we hope you’ll mention this blog when you contact us.
All the very best,
* More often than not, medical terms relating to reproduction have been, and typically still are, used to refer to biologic/ genetically assigned sex, not to gender. Respect for all patients and medical interventions to care for people who’ve experienced gender dysphoria have put into play language that’s defined culture for thousands of years. The language and culture of pregnancy care is in the midst of trying to catch up to changes related to the growing visibility and health care needs of non-cisgender people.
- Cisgender: of or relating to a person whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth.
- Non-binary (also nonbinary): an umbrella term that describes all genders a person may identify with other than female/male or woman/man.
- Non-cisgender: of or relating to a person whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth.
- Trans(in this case, short for trans man): a person assigned female at birth who identifies as a man; it may also refer to a person who identifies as any gender different from their sex assigned at birth.
- Trans masculine (also transmasculine): generally describes a person assigned female at birth who identifies as a man, used as an adjective.