Transgender pregnancy

Paul Raven @ 25-03-2008

Here’s another bioethics question that’s probably no less contentious than the deaf baby issue. Thomas Beattie is legally married to a woman called Nancy. Nothing unusual there; what’s unusual is that Thomas is transgender – he’s now legally counted as a man, but was previously female. So far, so good.

Now the tricky bit – Thomas is pregnant.

“Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.”

In this instance, I find my own attitudes very clear cut – I have no problems with this at all. But I imagine the anti-gay-marriage crowd will be pretty upset about it, which brings us to a question familiar to transhumanist thinkers and readers of feminist science fiction alike – is “gender” a function of genetics, of psychology or of society? [via BoingBoing]

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22 Responses to “Transgender pregnancy”

  1. Jeremy says:

    It took me a couple readings to make sense of it, but all I ended up with is “ok, I guess that’ll work.”

    I wonder if this won’t end with a giant whimper as it turns out that most people can’t get excited enough about this to do anything. Now, if it turned out that Nancy were the father, that would deserve a “hmm, how’d they work that out?”

  2. Wolfgang E. B. says:

    Jeremy wrote, “Now, if it turned out that Nancy were the father, that would deserve a “hmm, how’d they work that out?”

    If Nancy were a transwoman who hadn’t yet had genital surgery, it would be possible, though the estrogen she would be taking would lower her sperm count, among other things.

  3. Khannea Suntzu says:

    Like always, scarcely all that shocking. It’s just a mechanical process we see all around us all the time. But what is the most shocking is the response of the conservative segment of society. Read up on the reactions, do a google, they are going apeshit because this “somewhat unusual event” so screws with what they regard as “normal” they become angry, perturbed, frightened and whatnot. They want to act against it. Remove it, outlaw it, persecute it, criminalize and demonize it.

    This type of conservatism is a brain defect. It is incapacity to accept unexpected events and anomalies in general. It’s a denial-disorder. And millions of people VOTE their worldview into LAWS, that institutionalize this denial.

  4. Judy says:

    I’m just a “normal” 57 year old woman and I think that if anyone would go to that much trouble to have a child, then good luck to them. These people are going to be far better parents to this child than some young kid who got pregnant by accident. Good luck to them.

  5. mercedes says:

    Well, congratulations to Thomas. I think that it’s wonderful that him and his wife are dedicated to making this baby girl have a loving family – transgender parents at all. The girl will be very lucky, because her parents will care for her no matter what. I think that if society has a problem with this, it is just because of stereotypical thinking. Our society has molded our opinion of what’s “normal” for too long, and I hope this serves as a message to those who are unable to think outside of the box; let alone think outside of it.

  6. Billy Johnson says:

    Do you know how difficult it is to explain this crap to our children…
    Tollerance is one thing….freak show is another…my gosh!

  7. skipster says:

    I think that if he is legal man he would not keep his reproductive system
    because of this the socity dose not count him as a man I know. I think
    that if he wants to be a man thats ok, but he can’t count him as a man and
    be pregant that is just not right.

  8. No Comments :O says:

    Hello peoooooople!!! are u F***** nuts? transgender pregnancy? what will be next? i love my dog and want to have kids with him??? and what that poor baby will say? “hi! this man is my mum and dad, two in one!literally!”
    i definately understand gay families adopting children but this is sick, it really IS sick, it scares me….

  9. Marnie C says:

    The above comment just shows how closed minded our older generation is to the new generation…. Good Luck to you both…. Just remember you will always be in the eye of the public for they have nothing better to do with their idle time…. You must do eveything RIGHT! ALWAYS!

  10. Jonathan M says:

    I say good luck to him. Nobody benefits from an overly narrow conception of gender and I have enormous respect for anyone who pushes back those boundaries a little bit further.

  11. Bob says:

    Lets rewind here. He was a she and kept her reproductive organs. Now remember that Females can have babies and males can not get pregnant. So in reallity he is still a she in natures law.

  12. Mendokuse says:

    Bob said: So in reallity he is still a she in natures law.

    Yeah, but he’s a he in a a court of law.

  13. dyoc235 says:

    Quote: “Yeah, but he’s a he in a a court of law.”

    Yup, which is really cool that he can be himself and still have this child when his wife was having difficulties. Kudos to him, I wish them all luck.

  14. David Conley says:

    It may be the future, it may be alright, it may be progressive,..but that kid is going to be confused and teased incessantly. The wheels of social awareness move slowly and squeak alot.

  15. Confused says:

    Someone, please help me understand!! I don’t care one way or the
    other. If I could have had my own kids I would have saved a fortune
    in child support. But, if Thomas has the uterus and his wife also
    has one (I know that’s a strange assumption) then where did the
    sperm come from? You still need that to get pregnant – Right?

  16. Sylvia Winningham says:

    I just have to say, that if this was “normal” would you have had to have
    surgery to be what you think is “normal”? We live in a world that is more
    accepting than you think, you have more rights than you deserve, and
    according to the bible, you are living in sin. There is no gray area here.
    If you choose to live in sin, that is your choice…I have no problem with
    that. But to put your lifestyle in our faces, like you want to change the
    world into thinking like you…that pisses me off. Keep your lives to
    yourselves, please, we have enough controversy in this world.

  17. Dragonfly says:

    Well, good luck to them..however…just by changing a few letters on documents does not make one a man….he/she looks like a man and has hairy armpits but still has a vagina,uterus and one overy…hell that sounds like a woman to me. Just because the breast we cut off by choice does not make a man…he still sits to pee and I am assuming has a period every month… Just because he has more testostrone than most women doesn’t automatically make you a man if you still have the female sex organs….can we say hoax???? Just another OMG can you believe this….they would have been better off letting everyone think that Nancy was pregnant and just have the baby and live their life….now because of all this guess who is going to pay the price for this all…..yep, the baby….Tom and Nacy…less is more….but since you didn’t go that route…I wish you all the luck their is….and oh yes….how about the doctor who stands to make millions off this as well….can’t wait to read that book or watch the movie of the week…

  18. Jeremy says:

    Sylvia Winningham: “But to put your lifestyle in our faces, like you want to change the world into thinking like you…that pisses me off. Keep your lives to yourselves, please, we have enough controversy in this world.”

    I don’t think anyone’s actually putting it in your face. Medically, this is a very interesting and probably important experiment. Socially, they’re not advertising it, some reporter found out and decided to write about it. And nobody’s forcing you to watch anything.

  19. Ness says:

    This is wonderful! I’m very excited for this couple. It sounds like the child will grow up with some very devoted parents. To those of you who refuse to recognize Mr. Beatie as a man because he has some female organs, you are showing your ignorance. You are linking biological sex to gender. These are two different aspects of self. There are cultures around the world, past & present that clearly recognize more than 2 genders. It’s just a Colonial heterosexist convention to link the two in a rather confining binary. You don’t understand it and you’re afraid of it so you ridicule it, instead of trying to educate yourself, you condemn others. Not a noble way to live life, but a convenient one, I suppose.

    To Sylvia,
    You’re worse than simply ignorant. This is socially and medically an interesting case. Plus, people would notice, me thinks, so the couple decided to acknowledge the pregnancy on their own terms. Who can blame them? Besides that you are a total hypocrite! You shame them for waving their “lifestyle” in people’s face, but then use your own as part of your argument. Look, lady, whether you want to admit it or not, your organized religion does not represent what constitutes ‘normal’ for much of the world. You are more than free to believe what you want, but so are others… don’t for a second think that your chosen lifestyle makes you morally superior to anyone, especially a rather brave and progressive couple choosing to start a family.

  20. erica says:

    i am not sure how this is medically interesting. he/she is still technically a woman. maybe it could be medically interesting in a psychological way. physically, no. when i first saw the photo i was taken aback. everyone is entitled to their opinions and should not be condemned if someone disagrees. so, let’s all just agree to disagree and forget about it.

  21. mary campbell says:

    I have just watched Channel 4 programme and it totally changed my view on
    the situation they are a loving and kind family who will love and care for
    their children and they wont be abused like baby P and others like him. So
    live and let live I say. Good luck to them.

  22. Victoria says:

    I am very happy for the couple, being transgender myself…I think that this is a big step froward for society…It shows others that there are people out there who are struggling to deal with normal things because of societal norms we put on ourselves…I only hope that the media attention doesn’t ruin their home…I will say that ignorance will get you nowhere and noone is ever trying to get you to think like them…If you listen to transgender people you will find that they live a difficult life…I have not spoken to anyone in my family since I was 16 years old…That is ten years, because they do not want to accept me for who I am inside…I think that this is what society needed…A high profile case of what goes on in the ‘real world’