What Happens If a Cisgender or Trans Man Takes Birth Control?

Cis men won’t see many effects, but birth control can be important for trans men

With so many cisgender females on the birth control pill, you might have found yourself wondering what happens if a cisgender man takes birth control? The short answer: not much.

There is currently no birth control medication for people assigned male at birth. If a cisgender male takes a birth control pill once or twice, he’s not likely to notice any difference. Taking birth control will also not speed up the process of feminization for people assigned male at birth who are trying to transition to being female.

This article will review what cisgender males, trans males, and gender nonconforming people can expect if they take a hormonal birth control pill.

Birth Control for Cisgender and Transgender Men / Nonconforming People

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

Can Men Get Pregnant?

Most cisgender men and people assigned male at birth do not have a uterus or ovaries, and therefore cannot get pregnant.

However, trans men and gender nonconforming people may be able to get pregnant if they have a uterus and ovaries, even if they are on hormone therapy and taking testosterone. Many of them take hormonal birth control to avoid getting pregnant.

Cisgender men can still get their partners pregnant, so it’s important to use a male birth control option, like condoms.

What Cisgender and Gender Nonconforming Mean

In short, cisgender means that your biological sex aligns with your gender identity. For example, if you are a biological male who was assigned male at birth, and you identify as a man, you are cisgender. 

Gender nonconforming means that the way a person presents themselves is not what would be expected for someone of their biological sex assigned at birth.

Cisgender Men

If you’re a cisgender male who takes a birth control pill intended for females on one or two occasions, you’re not likely to notice any side effects. If you take birth control pills regularly, you may notice some mild side effects.

Regardless, these pills will do nothing to prevent pregnancy since they are designed to work with the female reproductive system. Birth control pills are prescription medications, and they should only ever be taken by the person to whom they have been prescribed.

Birth Control Options

Right now, there are only two effective contraception options for cisgender males: condoms and vasectomies. Unfortunately, some people find condoms uncomfortable, and vasectomies are only right for people looking for a permanent form of birth control. 

There are currently numerous male contraceptives being developed, including pills and a shot. These have been shown to be highly effective, but they are not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or available in the United States.

According to the Male Contraceptive Initiative, birth control for cisgender males is likely five to 20 years away from hitting the American market.

Transgender Women

There’s a common myth that taking birth control pills can help trans women speed up the process of feminization. Although birth control pills contain female hormones, they will not speed up the process of transitioning from male to female.

The type and amount of hormones found in birth control pills are different from those used in gender-affirming hormone therapy. If you are trying to transition from male to female, find a trusted, LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare provider who can discuss the type of hormone therapy that will help you transition.

Transgender Men and Gender Nonconforming People

If a transgender male or gender nonconforming person still ovulates and has a menstrual cycle, taking a hormonal birth control pill will affect their cycle and prevent pregnancy in the same way it does for cisgender females.

Some transgender men and gender nonconforming people choose to take birth control as a form of gender affirmation—they like being able to skip their periods. For others, however, having to take birth control can worsen gender dysphoria.

Birth Control Options

Transgender men and gender nonconforming people who still ovulate can get pregnant any time they’re having unprotected penis-in-vagina sex. This is true even if the person has been taking testosterone.

A small 2018 study found that 1.6% of trans men who responded to a survey had conceived while taking testosterone.

It can be difficult to determine when you’re ovulating, especially if your menstrual cycle is irregular. Because of that, everyone with a uterus and ovaries who does not want to become pregnant should use a birth control option if they are having unprotected penis-in-vagina sex.

If you are not able or willing to take female hormones, talk to your doctor about non-hormonal contraception options, including IUDs and condoms.

Finding an LGBTQ-Friendly Doctor

Taking charge of your sexual health is important—for cisgender people, transgender people, and gender nonconforming people alike.

If you don’t identify as cis, the first step in that process can be finding an LGBTQ-friendly healthcare provider. Start by asking trusted people in your community if they have any recommendations. This might include your friends or workers at your community center. 

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is a national organization that maintains a database of healthcare providers that are committed to serving the LGBTQ+ community.

A Word From Verywell

Managing your sexual health can be challenging for anyone, especially people who are members of the LGBTQ+ community.

If you are a trans man or gender nonconforming person, it’s important to know that you can still conceive if you have a uterus and ovaries, even if you’re on testosterone. Talk with your healthcare provider about what contraceptives are a good fit for you.

If you are in the process of transitioning to female, remember that taking birth control is not a replacement for gender-affirmation hormone therapy. When in doubt, find an LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare provider with whom you’re comfortable having vulnerable and honest conversations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can men get pregnant?

    Cisgender males cannot get pregnant, since they do not have ovaries or a uterus. Trans men and gender nonconforming people who still have a uterus and ovaries can get pregnant, even if they’re on hormone therapy. It’s important for everyone to practice safe sex to avoid unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

  • Can trans men get pregnant?

    Yes, trans men can get pregnant, even if they have started taking testosterone. A small 2018 study found that 1.6% of trans men who responded to a survey had conceived while they were taking testosterone. If you are a trans man or a gender nonconforming person having penis-in-vagina sex, be sure to use a contraceptive to avoid unplanned pregnancy. If you are trying to conceive, talk to your doctor about the best steps for you. 

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Planned Parenthood. What happens if a guy takes birth control?

  2. Male Contraceptive Initiative. What is in development?

  3. Power to Decide. How birth control can help with gender dysphoria.

  4. Light A. Family planning and contraception use in transgender men. Contraception. 2018;98(4):266-269. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2018.06.006

By Kelly Burch
Kelly Burch is has written about health topics for more than a decade. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and more.