Dutch healthcare system is not ready for pregnant transgender men

March 2, 2023 : In Peer-Reviewed Publication, a news release by AMSTERDAM UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTERS says transgender men can, and usually wish to, become pregnant. However, they need extra advice, and care providers often lack the necessary knowledge and talents. Amsterdam UMC is the first to carry out a qualitative research into the occasions of Dutch transgender people with maternity care. This research is now public as a pre-print in Midwifery.  

Transgender men often experience medical procedures to change their bodies to their male gender identity, and these medical interventions can impact fertility. Some transgender men, therefore, prefer not to undergo these treatments, postpone them, or even control them temporarily, permitting them to retain the chance of becoming pregnant.

Absence of Environment Knowledge

Norah van Mello, Registrar Jojanneke van Amesfoort and gynecologist jointly with colleagues from Amsterdam UMC, researched the adventures of transgender and gender-diverse people. With an emphasis on the whole pregnancy trajectory, from becoming pregnant to getting pregnant, giving birth, and, lastly, the postpartum period. They polled five Dutch transgender men who have been pregnant and have delivered birth to one or more kids.

This research indicates that their experiences differ significantly from a female pregnancy. For instance, transgender men get little to no pregnancy experience from their environment, as pregnancy is considered feminine in society. Finding the right caregivers can also be difficult, sometimes leading to individuals withholding the wish to become pregnant. Fear also plays a role in the procedure. On the one hand, the fear that pregnancy will restrict their medical transition and the fear of negative responses from healthcare providers. These findings echo international investigations into the experience of pregnant transgender males.  

Absent Facts  

In expansion, for some, pregnancy and childbirth can provoke or even reinforce emotions of gender dysphoria (feeling of discomfort owing to gender at birth does not correspond to gender identity) and seclusion. During the postpartum period, it became evident to them that health care and the law still offer inadequate scope for birth parents who do not identify as female. They also encountered that the care providers lack the correct understanding and knowledge to guide transgender and gender-diverse people satisfactorily.

Time for Policies

The outcomes emphasize that the Dutch healthcare landscape, like the international crisis, is still insufficiently equipped to supply gender-inclusive care. There is also a dearth of guidelines to show transgender and gender-diverse people and to enable referral to the right services and support media.