A transgender man who gave birth with the help of fertility treatment lost his legal fight to be registered as the child’s father in a UK High Court.
Born female, Freddy McConnell transitioned to become a man and was legally recognized as male when he became pregnant in 2017, giving birth in 2018. The 32-year-old took legal action after a registrar told him that UK law required people who give birth to be registered as mothers on birth certificates.
This establishes the first legal definition of the term “mother” in English common law. In ruling with the government, Andrew McFarlane, the president of the High Court’s family division, deemed that being a “mother” referred to being pregnant and giving birth, regardless of whether that person, in law, was a man or a woman.
“There is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent. Being a ‘mother,’ whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.
“It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognized in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child. Whilst that person’s gender is ‘male,’ their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of ‘mother'” McFarlane ruled.
McConnell, a multimedia journalist for UK newspaper The Guardian, started taking testosterone at the afe of 25 and a year later had surgery to remove breast tissue. In 2016, he stopped taking testosterone and subsequently his menstrual cycle restarted before he became pregnant using sperm from a donor.
I’m saddened by the court’s decision not to allow trans men to be recorded as father or parent on their children’s birth certificates.
I fear this decision has distressing implications for many kinds of families. I will seek to appeal and give no more interviews at this stage.3,09910:50 AM – Sep 25, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy829 people are talking about this
Reacting to the ruling on Twitter, McConnell said he would appeal. “I’m saddened by the court’s decision not to allow trans men to be recorded as father or parent on their children’s birth certificates. I fear this decision has distressing implications for many kinds of families. I will seek to appeal and give no more interviews at this stage.”