Dispelling the notion that transgender youth are less at risk for pregnancy, a new study has found that they have pregnancy rates similar to their non-transgender peers.
“It’s often assumed that trans youth don’t get pregnant or get someone pregnant, perhaps because they’re receiving hormones that tend to reduce fertility, or because people assume they aren’t sexually active. This study shows otherwise,” said lead author Jaimie Veale, who conducted the research as part of her postdoctoral fellowship at University of British Columbia in Canada.
The researchers used data from the 2014 Canadian Transgender Youth Health Survey, focusing on a subset of 540 youth aged 14-25 who had previously had sex.
They found that five per cent (26 youth) had been involved in a pregnancy at least once – comparable to British Columbia pregnancy rate of about five per cent among sexually active young people.
“In other words, there is no evidence to support assumptions that pregnancy only occurs in those who are yet to transition,” added Veale, currently a lecturer at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
The finding, published online in the International Journal of Transgenderism, highlights the need for more supportive sex education and sexual health care for transgender youth, study’s senior author Elizabeth Saewyc, Professor at University of British Columbia.
Clinicians “should ensure this group know how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections”, Saewyc said.