Reuben Sharpe, a proud father, revealed today how HE gave birth to a remarkable child in one of the most contemporary families in Britain. The 39-year-old began living as a man 12 years ago. He stopped taking testosterone six years ago with the intention of having children someday, but he still feels maternal feelings. And when he and his girlfriend Jay produced a lovely child, that wish came true. Jay is not binary – so does not define as male or female. The donor is a transgender woman and even the DOCTOR is transgender.
The family just experienced the nicest Christmas ever since little Jamie moved here three months ago. The end result, a baby in our arms after six long years of work, is now within reach. I’m satisfied at last. I don’t crave for the experience of giving birth or being pregnant, but I do want a child. Our families adore kids in both families. I’m really happy that my relatives are so enthusiastic about our child and their other grandchildren.
Reuben explains how he started living like a man in 2007 – taking male hormones gave him a beard, a deep voice, and masculine features. But realizing she wanted to have children, Reuben spoke to a trusted transgender doctor about the possibility of pregnancy. He is reassured that it is possible because he still has a uterus and ovaries. Countless tests of his hormone levels and fertility and at one point a friend offered to hold the baby for him if he couldn’t. After that, Reuben got his first break. “The next morning, I woke up to find my period had started for the first time in six years,” he explains. It’s such a relief. It’s weird, but I know it’s the beginning of something I’m so desperate for.”
Although giving sperm is a major choice, the donor agreed that we were on the correct track. Jay and Reuben decided on an IUI, which involves a doctor at a for-profit fertility clinic inserting sperm into Reuben’s uterus. Cost for three procedures is £6,000. The initial attempt failed. I had a fertility shot, but I lost much too many eggs. Though we may have had six children, we were unable to make that attempt.
We gave it a second try and the earliest I could check was on my birthday. We’ve been stressed for weeks. I took the test, skipped it, and went to brush my teeth. Suddenly Jay called me into the room and told me to look – it was a positive outcome. The couple took five more pregnancy tests to be sure then celebrated. The coming months are a roller coaster of emotions… the joy of being born, the discomfort of receiving strange glances in a hospital waiting room, and the sadness of one’s stubbornness. Some people don’t want to understand or accept their situation. I really like my pregnant body and want to be bigger. It’s very affirmative and I really like it – I’m a man and I’m pregnant. There are many changes to go through.
“Women also struggle with their bodies as they go through pregnancy, so it’s not something only a trans man can feel.”
I was taken to the hospital for a cesarean section, which was okay, but the recovery was absolutely horrible. I couldn’t move for five days. The couple are confident their family situation will be considered normal as the baby grows up surrounded by like-minded people in their hometown of Brighton. “It’s about having the right community around us so they can see different types of family setups,” says Jay. All we can do is try to be really open from the start with them and the others around us, give them the best chance.”
And although Reuben holds the baby this time, Jay will gladly do so in the future. They plan to get married next year and don’t want to be constrained by the role of parents.
“Even when people go through that pregnancy experience with their partner, it’s still common. Wanting to have children is not a woman’s business for me.”