Hormones are not a replacement for birth control

Medical vials for injection with a syringe and ampules on blue background

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been a life-saving treatment for transgender and non-binary people for many years now.

Transgender men and transmasculine people often choose to take testosterone as a way to combat gender dysphoria – but can testosterone be relied on as a form of birth control?

The short answer? No.

Testosterone can cause many gender-affirming changes, including facial hair growth, fat redistribution and voice deepening. And while testosterone can also stop a person’s menstrual cycle, it should not be used as a substitute for birth control.

If you are a person who can get pregnant, then proper contraception is needed – regardless of any hormones or other medications you may be taking. If you’re unsure of where to start when looking into birth control, contact your GP or look into trans-focused support groups who will be able to point you in the right direction for advice and resources.

And this doesn’t just apply to transgender men/transmasculine people!

Transgender women and transfeminine people taking estrogen can experience a range of physical changes, from breast development to fat redistribution. And while estrogen can also slow down sperm production, it should not be relied on as a form of birth control when having vaginal/frontal sex with a partner.

Condoms are one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy as well as minimising the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but there are a variety of contraceptive methods you can try alongside condoms.

Talking to a doctor can help sift through all of the options available, but it can be difficult finding queer-friendly healthcare providers who have experience with transgender patients. Take time to chat to LGBTQ+ friends who have sought healthcare in the past, read testimonies online, and look into support groups that can offer advice. The internet is an invaluable resource for trans and non-binary people – use it!