CW for pregnancy loss images.
[Image description: Two white men and a white toddler in the middle. The man on the left has tousled hair and a light beard. He is wearing a tartan pattern black and white shirt and black trousers. He is holding a white baby vest with the words "I am my two daddies pot of gold 2021" on and an image of a pot of gold with a rainbow. The toddler in the middle has fair hair. They are holding on to both men and sitting on a grey ottoman. They are wearing a white t-shirt that reads "My daddies have promoted me to big sister 2021!" and has a rainbow heart on and a rainbow skirt. The toddler's feet are bare and at their feet is a framed photograph of a pre-term baby wrapped in white blankets. The man on the right has tousled hair and is wearing glasses. He is shirtless and has an anchor tattoo near his collarbone. He is holding an ultrasound picture on his chest and has two rainbow handprints on his tummy and a heartbeat tattoo on his hip. He is wearing black trousers.]
This is a series blog about how our journey to creating a family began, how we decided to bring children into our family. Why we choose the path of child birth rather then adoption. As well as transitioning not letting this stop us.
Firstly I will introduce us. I'm Shane a 25 year old trans man, my husband Ben is also a trans male. We both identify as men and use he/him pronouns. We have both been on testestrone and had top surgeries. We have three babies and two cat members in our family.
It all began when me and Ben met in 2016. Firstly we knew each other from a transgender support page on Facebook. We learnt we had mutual friends and had attend the same prides and events. We became friend firstly which then quickly processed to more. Our realionship did happen fast but we knew it was right. We moved in together after about 6 months. Got our own flat a year after being together and started to talk about our future family.
Even as friends we both knew that we were family orientated and we wanted children, which we built our relationship around too. However at the time we did not know how that would happen. I personally did not want to get pregnant. I was not on hormones, as well as me having poly cystic ovaries. Which I was told would hinder my chances of conception as well as carrying a full healthy pregnancy.
Ben had always want to carry his own child however was on hormones. As we well know we are lead to believe by professional that this affects your fertility. Which we believed at the time. As do many young trans or non-binary people, because they are still told today from gender specialist that hormones effects fertility, instead that there is no evidence currently to support this claim. Egg freezing is also not provided by the NHS and is too costly for a lot people therefore you feel you have no choice but to give up that chance to carry a child.
So we thought our only option was to adopt. My husband had social involved as a child and it was not the process we ideally wanted to go through. Not because we did not want to take on a child that needed a loving home because we did, and is something we are still thinking about for the future. However we knew again just how much we would have to go through in this process, being young, being transgender too.
We did speak to our local council and were met with discrimination straight away. We knew it would be a hard process but to be shut down the moment we mentioned we were trans. Firstly trying to state we were young and needed to have life experience first. But we were the legal age to adopt so we challenged that. To then get back saying because we were transgender we had to eirther stop our transition or wait until we where fully transitioned as it will impact any child we take on. It was a shock to hear them actually say this to us because neither opinion were something that was even possible. One we were proud to be trans and it not something that you just do and it is done, it will always be apart of our identity and personal life, which a child would be involved in.
I know this is just one local council and their are many stories out their where adoption has been successfully for many LGBT+ people. Their are some amazing agencies and local authorities that work with LGBT+ adopters however this set us back and we knew it was just not a process we were ready for. Therefore we did not know where to go from here. We did look into surrogacy briefly but was very costly.
It was not until we heard stories in the media, about trans men carrying who had been on testestrone. These were mainly in America at the time. Thankfully now there are a lot more trans birth story's in the media to spread awareness and fight the discrimination we as trans people face when having a family. This is why we want to get our story across so others knew that it can be done. Whichever way you personally want to create your own families, whether that involves children or not. Therefore more to spread awareness that testosterone does not make you infertile, to fight back against the prejudice that we have face as pregnant men.
That is when we looked into how we could have our own baby. As IVF again was not a opinion we could take due to personally not having the amount of funds for it. It is an expensive and lenghty procedures that we could just could not afford. We had very close friends who had used a known sperm donor and done artificial insemination at home, which we started researching into. Our friends were trans male however were not on hormones or had any surgery. Ben was on testosterone about three years and had chest reconstructive surgery that year. Other then a few stories in the media we did not personally know anyone at the time who had taken this routine into parenthood.
We consulted a gender endocrinologist who supported us, so Ben came of testestrone with his support, doing blood tests and managing his mental health. Surprisingly it went smoothly Ben felt great had no changes to his appearance or voice. His dyphoria was manageable even when his menstruation cycles returned around 7 months after stoping hormones. This is when we started to look into donors and how to achieve pregnancy.
To read more from Shane and Ben, please go to: https://twotransdaddies.blogspot.com/