NHS trust says milk from men 'comparable' to women's breast milk for babies

Unsplash/Jaye Haych
Unsplash/Jaye Haych

A National Health Service trust in the United Kingdom defended the practice of men who identify as female breastfeeding babies by using drugs to induce lactation, claiming that the milk from men is as healthy for babies as breast milk from a woman.

In a leaked letter, Dr. Rachel James, the medical director of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, explained how trans-identifying biological men take medication that can simulate breastfeeding. According to The Times, the conservative group Policy Exchange disclosed the letter after it was sent in August to Children of Trans­itioners after the group complained about the Trust's policies. 

As The Daily Mail initially reported Saturday, the University Hospitals Sussex Trust is a member of the pro-LGBT group Stonewall's diversity champions program and was the first NHS trust to use language such as "chestfeeding" and "birthing parent" for its maternity services. 

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In the leaked letter, James referred to "human milk" as the "ideal food for infants," adding that the term is meant to be "neutral" and not "gender-biased." 

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

The trust cited several studies to support its assertions, including a 2022 study that found an infant who received "milk testosterone concentrations" under 1% had "no observable side effects." Researchers acknowledged in the report that the study was the first of its kind, highlighting the "limited safety data regarding use of testosterone during lactation."

The University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment. 

In a statement published by The Daily Mail, the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust stands by "the facts of the letter and the cited evidence supporting them." 

In response to the letter, Labour MP Rosie Duffield accused the NHS trust of using babies as "guinea pigs for someone else's lifestyle choice." Duffield also expressed concern regarding the "ethics of untested chemicals in children."

"When a man has not and cannot grow a baby, why on earth are we pandering to this?" she asked in an interview with The Daily Mail. "Who does it benefit? Not the children. We wouldn't do any other medical experiments on babies. Breast milk made by a baby's biological mother is tailor-made for that baby."

The leaked document also prompted a response from Katy Faust, the founder of Them Before Us, a nonprofit that advocates for a child's right to a mother and father.

In a Sunday X post, Faust wrote: "Children [are] forced to sacrifice their legitimate nutritional needs to validate a man's identity." 

A similar discussion occurred last summer in the United States after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published advice for trans-identified and non-binary individuals on how to breastfeed their infants. The CDC referred to this action as "chestfeeding." 

"An individual does not need to have given birth to breastfeed or chestfeed," the CDC website states. "Some families may have other preferred terminology for how they feed their babies, such as nursing, chestfeeding, or bodyfeeding."

Another section on the CDC's website stated that trans individuals who underwent surgery to remove their breasts can still breastfeed or "chestfeed" an infant. The health agency noted that families in these cases may need help "suppressing lactation" if they have "chosen not to breastfeed or chestfeed." 

In a July statement, U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, who delivered over 5,000 babies during his time as an OB-GYN, declared that the CDC's advice on "chestfeeding" was "irresponsible" and "defies science and safety."

"In my opinion, the CDC has lost all credibility and is in direct conflict with the FDA for marketing a non-FDA approved drug," Marshall said. "A biological male filled with hormones and a concoction of other drugs that have not been studied that could harm a baby should NEVER be encouraged."

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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