Freddy McConnell, 32, who had a child using a sperm donor, claims pregnancy would be taken more seriously if more men gave birth, in a new documentary film, Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth, which portrays his fatherhood journey over three years.
“If all men got pregnant then pregnancy would be taken so much more seriously and talked about,” he says in the film.
He adds: “F***, it’s f***ing awful. If men had to go through this all the time you would never hear the end of it.”
The film, directed by award-winning English documentarian Jeanie Finlay, portrays McConnell coming off his testosterone hormone treatment in order to conceive his son.
“I think I totally underestimated the difficulty of being on camera and being filmed a lot,” McConnell says in a trailer for the film. “I remember thinking ‘this is really odd I’ll get used to it’, but I never got used to it.”
McConnell’s mother, Esme, who features in the documentary, says she was worried when Freddy revealed he wanted a sex change that it meant she wouldn’t have grandchildren.
“I did think, oh my God, that means I won’t have grandkids from Freddy,” she says.
But her fears were unfounded.
“I’ve always wanted to have kids one day. It’s not only women who are broody,” McConnell says in the film trailer.
McConnell began his transition from female to male at the age of 25.
He took testosterone and had his breasts surgically removed. However, he chose not to have a hysterectomy so he could still become pregnant.
Inspired after hearing about a man who gave birth in the US, McConnell decided to have a child using a sperm donor.
When he came off testosterone in order to conceive, his body began to change back to its pre-transition state, meaning McConnell began to have periods again.
“This is a film about me having a baby. But what I feel like I’m going through isn’t me having a baby or pregnancy, it’s a much more fundamental total loss of myself,” he says.
McConnell did consider having children before his transition, but decided against the idea.
“I needed to figure out exactly who I was before I had a kid,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.
Wyley Simpson, 28, is another transgender man who has gone public with his experience of having a child.
In Feburary 2018, Simpson was surprised to discover he was pregnant while transitioning to becoming a man.
It was the first pregnancy for Simpson and fiancé Stephan Gaeth. Simpson gave birth to their son, Rowan, via emergency C-section last September.