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04 April 2008

Pregnant man says its a miracle

A transgender man who is six months pregnant said in an interview aired by Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, that he always wanted to have a child, and considers it a miracle.

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A transgender man who is six months pregnant said in an interview aired by Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, that he always wanted to have a child, and considers it a miracle.

"It's not a male or female desire to have a child. It's a human desire," a thinly bearded Thomas Beatie said. "I have a very stable male identity," he added, saying that pregnancy neither defines him nor makes him feel feminine.

Beatie, 34, who lives in Oregon, was born a woman, but decided to become a man 10 years ago. He began taking testosterone treatments and had breast surgery to remove glands and flatten his chest.

"I opted not to do anything with my reproductive organs because I wanted to have a child one day," he told the talk show host. Beatie's wife Nancy said she inseminated him with a syringe using sperm purchased from a bank. Now, he said, his size 32 jeans are getting a bit tight and his shirts are a bit stretched.

'Parental roles will not change'
Nancy, to whom he has been married for five years and who has two grown daughters by a previous marriage, also appeared on the show, saying the couple's roles will not change once the baby is born.

"He's going to be the father and I'm going to be the mother," she said. Their marriage is legal and he is recognised under state law as a man.

The couple was shown on video provided by People Magazine, which collaborated with Winfrey on the show, showing the room that will be the baby's nursery. Beatie said the little girl was going to be "daddy's little princess".

The couple was also filmed in their hometown of Bend, Oregon, where he underwent an ultrasound showing the baby in his womb.

"I can't believe it. I can't believe she's inside me," Beatie said while watching the ultrasound image. "We see her as our little miracle."

Pregnancy normal and baby healthy
His obstetrician, Dr Kimberly James, who practices in the Oregon town, told Winfrey, "This is a normal pregnancy." She said Beatie stopped taking testosterone two years ago and his levels of the hormone are normal.

"This baby is totally healthy," she said. "This is what I consider a normal pregnancy."

The couple said they had been turned down by a number of other doctors before James agreed to take him as a patient. They said an earlier attempt at pregnancy failed when he developed a tubal pregnancy, resulting in surgery that removed his Fallopian tubes.

The couple said they decided to go public with the pregnancy because they wanted to control the way the news got out. "We're just going to have the baby now," Nancy said. "If we have to, we'll go hide."

The couple runs a small business in Bend and has some savings, she said. In addition, Beatie is working on a book about his childhood, his mother's suicide and his life growing up in Hawaii where, as a girl, he was a teen beauty pageant contestant and earned a martial arts black belt.

Winfrey called the development "a new definition of what diversity means for everybody". – (ReutersHealth)

April 2008

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