The man had hormone treatment to reactivate his womb
He is one of only five ‘male mums’ in the world
The baby is thought to have been delivered by cesarean section
By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 10:49 PM on 12th February 2012
A British man is believed to have given birth, causing an ethical controversy.
The ‘male mother’ started life as a woman but underwent a sex change. He is thought to have had the baby last year, while living as a man.
Medical experts said that if the womb is not removed in sex change surgery, there is nothing to stop a woman who becomes a man from having a child.
But others said that the welfare of the baby is paramount and queried how the child will deal with even the simplest of issues, such as whether to call the man ‘Mummy’ or ‘Daddy’.
Only a handful of ‘male mothers’ have given birth worldwide and this is believed to be the first case in Britain.
Details were revealed by Joanna Darrell of the Beaumont Society, which provides support to those have changed sex or would like to do so, a process also known as gender reassignment.
She said the man, in his thirties, inquired about the practicalities of having a baby after the surgery.
He was referred to another charity but later got back in touch to thank the society for its help and say he had had a baby.
This call came around six months ago. It has not been disclosed whether the child is a boy or a girl.
The charity that took the referral, the Gender Identity Research and Education Society, was unable to confirm the birth.
In 2008 Thomas Beatie, from Oregon, made headlines when he became the world’s first ‘pregnant man’ after a hysterectomy left his wife unable to conceive. He has now borne three children.
He had retained his own womb and artificially inseminated himself at home, using donor sperm.
The full circumstances of the British man are not known, but he is believed to have kept his womb in the sex change.
There is a variety of ways in which he could have become pregnant.
The simplest involves producing and using his own eggs, having sex and conceiving and giving birth naturally.
At the other end of the scale are scenarios that involve donor eggs and sperm, hormone treatments, IVF and a caesarean section.
Allan Pacey, a male fertility expert from Sheffield University, said: ‘This may seem quite complicated, but it’s actually fairly simple biology depending on exactly what surgery was performed and whose eggs and sperm were used.’
Gedis Grudzinskas, a Harley Street fertility specialist, said some of the possible techniques are little different from those which help post-menopausal women have babies.
He added that other babies may have already been born this way in Britain.
‘This is the first time someone has stuck his head above the parapet but it wouldn’t surprise me if it has happened before,’ he said.
HOW MEDICINE HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE
‘There is no reason why this particular individual would be the only one to consider it.’
Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: ‘It is a horrible muddle. What is the child going to think?
‘The key thing is the child, in case anyone forgets that.’
Trevor Stammers, a lecturer in medical ethics and former chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said the child’s ‘bizarre beginning’ would stay with it for the rest of its life. He told the Sunday Times: ‘You are hardly going to end up with a baby that is going to have a happy, productive and optimal childhood.’
Dr Stammers added that while it is likely that any fertility treatment was done privately, it was ‘not beyond the bounds of possibility’ that the NHS paid for it.
Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: ‘It is a distortion of biology.
‘Whether we like it or not, human biology is for a male and female to produce a child and they are then called Mummy and Daddy.
‘If there is one thing that is uniformly agreed about children, it is that they like conformity, they like to be exactly the same as everybody else.’