Transgender Teens As Likely to Get Pregnant as Non-trans Youth – Study

Sexually active transgender youth are as likely to get pregnant as general adolescent population, reveals a new, first-of-its-kind study.

The study by researchers at the University of British Columbia shows that sexually experienced trans youth have pregnancy rates similar to their non-transgender counterparts.

These findings debunk the notion that transgender people aren’t at risk for pregnancy. “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 the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.

For the research, Veale and her team used data from the 2014 Canadian Transgender Youth Health Survey, involving 540 youth from across the country, who were aged 14-25 and had previously had sex.

They found, about one in 20 or 5 percent (26) sexually active transgender youth had become pregnant, or impregnated someone, at least once. This rate is identical to the 5 percent of all sexually active people in British Columba who have become pregnant or have gotten someone pregnant.

“In other words, there is no evidence to support assumptions that pregnancy only occurs in those who are yet to transition,” added Veale, who is currently a lecturer at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

As per study’s senior author Elizabeth Saewyc, Professor at University of British Columbia, their findings highlight the need for more supportive sex education and sexual health care for transgender people.

“To a great degree, many clinicians working with trans youth don’t necessarily see them as sexually active, or sexually active in ways that could lead to pregnancy,” she said. “And if you’re taking hormones it’s assumed they reduce fertility so even if you are sexually active you won’t get pregnant. That’s just not the case.”

According to her, health care providers should make transgender youth aware of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) just as much as they educate general population.

“It shatters the notion that trans youth aren’t at risk for pregnancy, perhaps because they’re receiving hormones that tend to reduce fertility or because people assume they aren’t sexually active,” she concluded.

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the study has recently been published in the International Journal of Transgenderism, an academic peer-reviewed publication of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.