Thomas Beatie and Trystan Reese were the first men to get pregnant. Born women, they are now transgender men who have kept their female internal and external sexual organs. This allowed them to bear their children. But thanks to the uterus transplant, non-transgender men could in the near future carry a pregnancy like a woman. Explanations.
Back to the story of the first pregnant man
Who is Thomas Beatie?
Tracy Lehuanani LaGondino was born in 1974 in Honolulu. As she grows, she feels deeply human and feels imprisoned in the wrong body. In the early 2000s, she began a process of transition from woman to man. In 2002, she legally became a man after undergoing a physical transformation through testosterone injections. Tracy is now called Thomas Beatie.
The man has the physical appearance of a man but still retains his female internal and external sexual organs, that is, his vagina, his uterus and his ovaries. With his wife Amber, they want to have children but after several attempts to conceive, they learn that this one is sterile. It was then that Thomas decided to stop his hormonal treatment to become a man in order to benefit from artificial insemination.
The first pregnant man
Thomas Beatie became pregnant in 2007 and gave birth to a daughter named Susan Juliette on June 29, 2008. He will have two other children (which he carried) with his wife: Austin Alexander born June 9, 2009 and Jensen James born July 25 2010. Called “the first pregnant man”, Thomas Beatie had a highly publicized first pregnancy. All eyes were on this man with a rounded belly, proud to carry his child. He is now a transgender rights activist. In particular, he defends the right for trans men to carry their child.
In 2017, another American transgender man gives birth to his child. Trystan Reese, 34, became pregnant through artificial insemination. Like Thomas Beatie, he did not wish to change sex. So he just had to stop his hormonal treatment to be able to get pregnant. In a relationship with a man, Bill Chaplow, they became the parents of a little boy named Leo.
Womb transplant: the only way for men to get pregnant
Male uterus transplant
Apart from the particular case of transgender men, the only way for a man to get pregnant is by transplanting the uterus into which an embryo from in vitro fertilization (IVF) would be implanted. But this delicate surgery is now only possible for women born without a uterus or whose uterus had to be removed because it was damaged or no longer functional.
A rare experience
The world’s first uterus transplants were performed in Sweden in September 2012. It involved two mother-to-daughter uterus transplants. The first baby resulting from a uterus donation between twin sisters was born in 2018 in Italy.
In France, the first uterus transplant took place on March 31, 2019 at Foch Hospital. A 34-year-old woman, born without a uterus, was able to receive her mother’s uterus. She gave birth to a baby girl on February 12, 2021.
Progress in France
Womb transplantation is only at an experimental stage in France and for the moment only concerns women, even if some doctors believe that a male pregnancy would be possible thanks to this feat.
This is the case of Dr. Richard Paulson, president of the American Society For Reproductive Medicine, who declared in 2017 that uterine transplantation could soon be extended to men, especially transgender women. For him, “there is no scientific obstacle to a man becoming pregnant through a uterus transplant”.
A long and complicated operation
A very delicate technique
The technique used in France for uterine transplantation was developed in Sweden. This is the minimally invasive robot-assisted technique. The surgical intervention, which lasts between 9 and 20 hours, consists of removing the uterus from the donor (alive or brain dead) and then grafting it onto the recipient woman.
The surgeon must graft the blood vessels from the uterus to the vessels of the recipient patient and graft the cervix to the vagina of the recipient patient. It is a delicate operation because the uterus is a highly vascularized organ with very fine blood vessels, which are therefore difficult to connect with the vessels of another person.
The therapeutic trial
A therapeutic trial is underway at Foch Hospital to assess the benefits and risks of uterine transplantation. Conducted on 10 patients for about 5 years, it should allow its generalization or not in France…to women only.
Male pregnancy is not for now!
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