March 13, 2024 | Jerry Bergman

Trans Men Can Get Pregnant

New research reveals more dangers
in the gender transitioning experiment

 

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

A major new area of risky and potentially dangerous experiments is now underway on young persons who claim that they experience a persistent incompatibility between their gender identity and their birth-assigned sex. Let’s examine one set of these people, specifically “trans men” (short for “transgender men”).

Trans men are persons born female who decide that they do not identify as females but rather males. To “trans” they undergo so-called hormone treatment with testosterone and an array of so-called gender-affirming surgeries such as a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) and oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries). Although these experimental treatments are helping scientists learn more about the human body, already indications exist of dangerous results from these elective surgeries and mega-dose hormone treatments.

The “general assumption is that testosterone induces hypo-thalamic-pituitary-gonadal suppression, resulting in anovulation [cessation of ovulation] and amenorrhea [cessation of menstruation].”[1] One new study has forced researchers to question this once bedrock assumption.

The Research

This research by Asseler et al., involved women who ingest large amounts of the male hormone testosterone as part of their attempt to transition. In a study of 52 women who take testosterone in an attempt to transition to men, scientists found that fully one-third of the participants still ovulate and, consequently, could become pregnant.[2] The specific finds were

Histological signs of recent ovulatory activity, including the presence of ovulatory follicles, corpus luteum, and corpus albicans, are observed in 17 of 52 individuals (33%). This is not significantly correlated to the duration, testosterone serum levels, or type of testosterone used. These results suggest that amenorrhea does not equal anovulation in transmasculine people on adequate testosterone therapy, emphasizing the importance of contraception for people who engage in sexual activity that can result in pregnancy.[3]

In other words, women who are attempting to transition to males may become pregnant if they are sexually active. Consequently, they should be on yet another drug, specifically birth control. If they become pregnant they could either elect to have an abortion or could have the child. The effects on a child in their womb when its mother is taking large doses of testosterone presents another challenge for medicine. We would expect many complications in the child which could result in a deformed child being born.

Effects of Testosterone on Females

Testosterone is taken by females to develop male secondary sex characteristics, including a deeper voice, facial hair growth, and a redistribution of muscle and fatty tissue. It also suppresses certain female body characteristics, including menstruation. This hormone therapy often stops women from having their normal menstrual period, but because some women can still ovulate, eggs will continue to be released from her ovaries. Consequently, they could come pregnant. The research on 52 women on testosterone found a third still ovulated as measured by the presence of fluid-filled sacs where an unfertilized egg develops, or the presence of a corpus luteum, a group of cells that form after ovulation to produce the hormones that support a potential pregnancy. Testosterone therapy typically causes patients to stop menstruating within three to six months.

The Asseler et al. study findings challenge the assumption that amenorrhea  equals anovulation.[4] The study results, written in politically-correct language, are as follows:

Contrary to common belief, their study reveals ovulatory activity in 33% of amenorrheic participants during gender-affirming oophorectomy. This challenges previous assumptions about anovulation during amenorrhea, highlighting the need for contraception in this demographic.[5]

Critically, ovulation did not correlate with how long the patients had been taking hormone replacement therapy, testosterone level, or the type of hormone replacement therapy. That means that even if “trans men” have been on testosterone for years, their ovaries may still be functional.

A Political Backlash

The transgender movement has recently experienced both a large and a significant backlash, including a large number of detransitioning claims. One result is 28 states have banned transition surgery (although lawsuits in some states are challenging the law, mostly funded by the ACLU) and only 27 states, mostly so-called liberal states on the East and West coasts, openly permit it.[6]

One problematic study claimed that only one percent regretted the surgery after two years. Problems with the study include out of a total of 235 patients that were deemed eligible for the study, only 139 responded (a 59.1% response rate).[7] After extensive surgery and drug-treatment buyer’s remorse, dissatisfaction is often not expressed to avoid the commonly expected “I told you this was a mistake” reaction from parents. I have noticed that studies that report different results tend to be ignored. One example is Bergman 2023.[8]

Concerns Over Long-Term Use of Testosterone

A major concern includes the potential long-term effects of taking high doses of testosterone. The long-term effects of testosterone are difficult to estimate because

Testosterone is an essential hormone for women, with physiological actions mediated directly or via aromatisation to oestradiol throughout the body. Despite the crucial role of testosterone and the high circulating concentrations of this hormone relative to oestradiol in women, studies of its action and the effects of testosterone deficiency and replacement in women are scarce.[9]

It is well established that women require only a low level of testosterone. The long-term effects of taking high doses of testosterone are unknown. One known effect is a significant increase in her libido, raising the likelihood of pregnancy in the one-third who still ovulate.

The problem is, so-called ‘gender-affirming therapy’ requires testosterone use for the rest of the  patient’s life, or at the least for many decades, and termination of its use can cause major health problems. And “long term studies are needed to further elucidate the implications of gender affirming hormones on physical and mental health in transgender patients.”[10] As explained in one reference:

Female sexual desire appears to be in part androgen dependent, which has led to the use of testosterone in women for low libido. Despite this benefit, the long-term safety of testosterone as a hormone replacement or therapy has not been well established…

Testosterone (T) therapy in women has been used for more than six decades; however, despite this, its role as a hormone replacement or therapy is not well established. Many randomized, placebo-controlled studies, have well documented the side effect profiles of T in women …  most T studies range from 1 month to 2 years, no longer term safety data exists… only long-term safety studies will provide conclusive evidence as to testosterone safety in women.[11]

Transgender people in the Netherlands in the past, in order to legally change their gender, had to be sterilized and undergo surgery and hormone replacement therapy. In July 2014, the Netherlands dropped this requirement. Since then, a physician in the Netherlands specializing in fertility care for transgender people, stated she has seen an uptick in transgender patients who want to keep their reproductive organs after transitioning.[12]

Summary

The research reviewed in this report covered one area in which previous beliefs about testosterone therapy was proven wrong. There will likely be many other revelations as more research is completed. For this reason, current so-called gender affirming therapy is both experimental and risky. Conversely, as was true with the new study reviewed in this paper, scientists will no doubt learn much about human health and physiology which will be too late for some of the experimental subjects.

Fully 97 percent of the silent generation self-identified as heterosexual and, for Gen Z adults (born between 1997 to 2013), only 72 self-identified as heterosexual.[13] This growth supports what I learned in graduate school: People who claim to be a different sex than their birth sex do not need a surgeon but need a psychiatrist. The fact is, transgender and gender-diverse youth have “higher rates of health and health-related disparities, including suicidality, bullying, and homelessness compared with cisgender peers.”[14]

More trans confusion: Levine married Martha Peaslee Levine in 1988 during his last year of medical school. He has two children and transitioned from male to female in 2011 and divorced his wife in 2013 after of 25 years of marriage. Levine is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine and Assistant Secretary of Health. He graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. Levine was named as one of USA Today’s women of the year in 2022, which recognizes women who have made a significant impact on society. Levine’s policy is that LGBTQ youth are topmost in his mind when it comes to addressing health concerns in the United States.

References

[1] Asseler, Joyce D. et al.  “One-third of amenorrheic transmasculine people on testosterone ovulate.” Cell Reports Medicine; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2024.101440, 19 February 2024.

[2] Cooke, Emily. “One-third of trans people taking testosterone may still ovulate, raising chance of pregnancy”; https://www.livescience.com/health/fertility-pregnancy-birth/one-third-of-trans-people-taking-testosterone-may-still-ovulate-raising-chance-of-pregnancy, 22 February 2024.

[3] Asseler, et al., 2024.

[4] Asseler, et al., 2024.

[5] Asseler, et al., 2024.

[6] Equality Maps. “Bans on best practice medical care for transgender youth.” MAP (Movement Advancement Project); https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/healthcare_youth_medical_care_bans

[7] Bruce, Lauren, et al. “Long-term regret and satisfaction with decision following gender-affirming mastectomy.” JAMA Surgery  158(10):1070-1077; doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2023.3352, 9 August 2023.

[8] Bergman, J. Transgenders Face Lifetime of Regret. Boys are Boys. Girls are Girls. Drugs and Surgery Cannot Overcome Mental Issues. https://crev.info/2023/12/transgenders-regret/

[9] Davis, Susan, et al. “Testosterone in women—the clinical significance.” The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology 3(12):980-982, 7 September 2015.

[10] Salas-Humara, Caroline, et al.  “Gender affirming medical care of transgender youth.” Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care 49(9):100683;  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1538544219301245, September 2019.

[11] Shufrlt, Christandra, et al. “Safety of testosterone use in women.” Maturitas 63(1):63-66, 20 May 2009.

[12] Ramos, Eli. “Transgender men may still ovulate after hormone replacement therapy”;

https://www.science.org/content/article/transgender-men-may-still-ovulate-after-hormone-replacement-therapy, 22 February 2024.

[13] Jackson, Mary. “Taking Sides: A Growing Divide over the Theology of Sexual Brokenness Threatens to Tear Evangelical Institutions Apart.” World Magazine 39(5):54-60, 2023.

[14] Kidd, Kacie, et al. “Providing care for transgender and gender diverse youth.” Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice 47(2):273-290;  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0095454320300087, 2020.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,900 publications in 14 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,800 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 60 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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