Trans women's milk just as good as woman's for feeding babies, NHS trust insists

19 February 2024, 10:02

A transgender woman's milk is just as good as a woman's, an NHS trust has insisted
A transgender woman's milk is just as good as a woman's, an NHS trust has insisted. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A transgender woman's milk is just as good as a mother's breast milk, an NHS trust has said.

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A letter from the medical director at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust made the claim as part of a response against campaign groups.

It defended the use of drugs to induce lactation to help trans women feed babies.

Dr Rachael James's message said: "Medications are sometimes used to induce lactation, similar to the natural hormones which encourage lactation to develop when the baby is newly born although occasionally some people are able to induce lactation without hormonal treatment.

"The evidence which is available demon­strates that the milk is compar­able to that produced following the birth of a baby."

The letter said "human milk" is the "ideal food for infants" and "staff further clarify that the term human milk is meant to be neutral and is not gender-biased".

Read more: Baby aged 10 months among three children found dead in Bristol as woman, 42, arrested on suspicion of murder

The trust referred to studies and World Health Organisation guidance, including one case that found "no observable effects" in babies fed by induced lactation.

Previously, it became the first NHS trust to use terms like "chestfeeding".

The letter was leaked to the Policy Exchange think tank.

Lottie Moore, the group's head of biology matters, said: "This letter is unbalanced and naive in its assertion that the secretions produced by a male on hormones can nourish an infant in the way a mother’s breast milk can.

"A child's welfare must always take precedence over identity politics and contested belief systems that are not evidence-based. The NHS should not be indulging in this nonsense."

A spokesman for the trust said: "We stand by the facts of the letter and the cited evidence supporting them."

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