Court says transgender man who gave birth must be 'mother' on child's legal documents

(Photo: Unsplash/Luma Pimentel)

A transgender man who recently gave birth has been told by a UK court that he cannot be named as the 'father' on his child's legal documents. 

Freddy McConnell was born biologically female and retained his female sexual and reproductive organs, but identifies as male.

McConnell, from Kent, gave birth with the help of fertility treatment.

He sued the General Register Office, which is responsible for the registration of all births and deaths in England and Wales, after discovering that he was required to be identified as the child's 'mother'. 

He claimed that the GRO's policy amounted to discrimination.  However, High Court judge Sir Andrew McFarlane ruled this week that 'mother' was the correct legal term for someone who has given birth. 

"Being a 'mother,' whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth," he wrote in his ruling. 

He added: "It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognized in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child. Whilst that person's gender is 'male,' their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of 'mother'."

It is the first time that the term 'mother' has been given a legal definition in English common law.

McConnell, a journalist with the Guardian, said the verdict was "not fair" and that he was considering launching an appeal against the decision. 

"If it is upholding the status quo then I am really worried about what that this means not just for me but other trans people who are parents or who want to become parents," McConnell told The Guardian.

"It has serious implications for nontraditional family structures. It upholds the view that only the most traditional forms of family are properly recognized or treated equally. It's just not fair."