What's it like to experience pregnancy as a trans man?
Associate Professor Sally Hines has been interviewed by US magazine MEL about her ESRC project An International Exploration of Trans Male Practices of Reproduction.
Sally discusses the challenges trans men face when becoming pregnant. She and four co-investigators are conducting interviews internationally - in the UK, Poland, Italy, the US and Australia - with men who have conceived after transitioning, and with young men about their attitudes and desires for pregnancy in the future.
"This is the first study to address the social and health-care implications of the reproductive practices of people who become pregnant and/or give birth after transitioning from female-to-male. The overall aim of the project is to gain an in-depth understanding of the growing number of men who may seek to, or become, pregnant and give birth after gender transition."
Specifically, we’re interested in the practices (how pregnancy 'happens' - ie reproductive technologies and family networks); experiences (how pregnancy is 'felt' - ie in relation to identity, the body or wider society); and health-care needs (what pregnant men need from health care providers - ie professional training and awareness).
Sally goes on to discuss the study and how they decided on the seven cities selected for the research. With all the chosen locations having varying attitudes and legal differences in how trans people are treated, the study allows for an international comparison of the social, physical and legal challenges trans men face in their decisions to parent.
The dialogue then turns to the difficulties trans people face because of a lack of knowledge amongst medical practitioners:
"This is why we believe the project is so important…we need to ask men about their experiences of health and reproductive care in order to see what the most significant issues are in terms of developing training and awareness programmes for medical practitioners and best practice guidelines. Medically, this is an uncharted field and so practice is inadequate."