“How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible,” wrote Thomas Beatie, 34, from the Pacific North West of the United States, in the latest issue of the gay magazine The Advocate.
“Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am.”
Mr Beatie was born female, named Tracy Lagondino, but had gender reassignment surgery and is now legally male and married to a woman.
He decided to carry a baby for his wife, Nancy, because she had a hysterectomy years ago. He was able to get pregnant because he kept his female organs when he switched genders.
“Sterilisation is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights,” he writes. “Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire but a human desire.” The couple, who have been together for ten years, run a custom screenprinting business in Bend, Oregon, where neighbours do not know that Mr Beatie was once a woman.
“Our desire to work hard, buy our first home and start a family was nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until we decided that I would carry our child,” he wrote.
Before becoming pregnant, Mr Beatie stopped the testosterone injections he was receiving as part of his gender reassignment. “It had been roughly eight years since I had my last menstrual cycle so this wasn’t a decision that I took lightly. My body regulated itself after about four months and I didn’t have to take any exogenous oestrogen, progesterone or fertility drugs to aid my pregnancy,” he wrote.
The couple bought donor vials from a cryogenic sperm bank and, facing resistance and prejudice from doctors, resorted to home insemination. “Doctors have discriminated against us, turning us away due to their religious beliefs. Healthcare professionals have refused to call me by a male pronoun or recognise Nancy as my wife. Receptionists have laughed at us. Friends and family have been unsupportive; most of Nancy’s family doesn’t even know I’m transgender,” he said.
Mr Beatie’s first successful insemination ended in a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy with triplets that required surgery, resulting in the loss of all his embryos and his right Fallopian tube. “When my brother found out about my loss, he said, ‘It’s a good thing that happened. Who knows what kind of monster it would have been?’,” he wrote.
The second pregnancy resulted in a baby girl who is due to be born on July 3. “I will be my daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family,” he wrote.
Mr Beatie would not be the first transgender man to give birth, according to Lisa Masterson, an obstetrician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.
“A transgender man can be pregnant because he has the same organs as a woman,” Dr Masterson said on the ABC Good Morning America show.
Dr Masterson said, however, that transgendered men face special health risks resulting from their sex change. “It’s really important that he doesn’t take any testosterone early on in the pregnancy and later on,” she said. “That can cause male-type characteristics in the female baby.”
Some of the Beaties’ neighbours in Bend voiced scepticism about the pregnancy claim. One resident, Josh Love, told ABC: “I couldn’t say that he looks pregnant. I can stick my stomach out and almost make it look like that. I think it’s kind of bizarre. I don’t know if I believe it or not.”
The Advocate said it had confirmed the story with Mr Beatie’s doctor.
Thomas Beattie the Man Pregnant 03/26/2008 He gave birth 06/28/08
Meet Thomas Beatie, The First Pregnant Man