According to the Daily Telegraph, a 30-something British man just gave birth to a son, after taking hormones to "reverse the effects of his female-to-male sex change treatment."  This has happened before (Thomas Beatle, shown above, is a famous example), but it's the first time this has happened in Britain.

There's been a lot of confusion about exactly how "male pregnancy" works, so a quick primer on this case:

  • A woman decided to become a man.  The most common reason for this is "gender identity disorder," in which someone identifies with the opposite sex and experiences "discontent with their biological sex and/or the gender they were assigned at birth."
  • She had sex reassignment surgery.  Her genitals were reshaped, but her ovaries and uterus were left intact.
  • She now identified as a man, and appeared to the world as a man.  At this point, she probably changd her name to a male name.  (From now on, we will use male pronouns.)  He underwent hormone replacement therapy as well.
  • He wanted to have a child, and so he consulted his doctors and stopped his hormone replacement therapy.
  • Because he still had a uterus and overies, he was able to carry a child.  Sperm was provided by someone else (either a donor or his partner, if a biological male), and he became pregnant.
  • He then gave birth to the child, most probably through c-section (although possibly a natural birth, depending on how the sex reassignment surgery was done).

Basically, someone born as a biological woman decided to get pregnant and have a baby.  Pretty straightforward, right?  Not according to some "medical ethicists" quoted in the Daily Telegraph article:


Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said there needs to be a proper inquiry in to the issues surrounding these births.

"We have to sit up and consider these things," she said. "I don't think it is in the interests of the child to distort nature this way. We are prepared to do anything possible to fulfil the rights of the adult.

"But I think it is at the expense and rights and welfare of the child."

Trevor Stammers, director of medical ethics at St Mary's University College, London, said: "You are hardly going to end up with a baby that's going to have a happy, productive and optimal childhood."

I also read some comments that the child is likely to be confused growing up. (Many people cited similar reasons for opposing same-sex marriage).  But in real life, many people who undergo sex reassignment surgery then go on to marry someone of the traditional opposite sex.  So in this case, it's entirely possible (and even probable) that the female-to-male transgender man married a woman.  So from the perspective of the British kid born to a "male mother", he is likely to have a mom and a dad.  And since the details of the parents' identity have been kept private, everyone would probably assume he came out of his mother.

And even if the "male mother" has a male partner, so what?  The baby will have two parents.  That's more than a lot of kids have these days.

What do you think of the controversy around the first-ever British male mother?