A trans man has described his shock at becoming pregnant and his life as a ‘seahorse dad’.
Ryan Sanderson, 24, was nine weeks into his female to male transition when he learned that he was pregnant.
The drama student was stunned by the news as he believed his ex partner was infertile, but immediately paused hormone treatments in so that he could give birth to his son, Hendrick, who is now two.
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The dad-of-one says had struggled with his gender identity for as long as he could remember and had difficulty with body dysphoria throughout the pregnancy.
He did not think it was possible to get pregnant while on testosterone, and believes it should be more widely known that it is possible.
Yet, he was proud to give birth to his son as a ‘seahorse dad’ – so-called because male seahorses carries babies. Now, with help from his mum, Ryan is raising his small family.
“I didn’t believe I could get pregnant when on testosterone, until I found out that I was,” Ryan said.
(Image: Mercury Press & Media Ltd.)
“I think more trans-men need to understand that they can get pregnant. I ended up finding out during a doctors visit, that I was ten weeks pregnant after being on testosterone for nine weeks.
“It was a huge shock to the system, but even though I was worried about what coming off of testosterone may do to my body dysmorphia, I knew instantly that I wanted to have the baby.
“My ex-partner was under the impression that he was infertile, but that wasn’t the case. I’d struggled for so long to become my true self and had even had to go with a private GP in order to get testosterone.”
Ryan explained that he knew he was male since the age of seven, and came out at 19. He feels it was his ‘fate’ to become pregnant in the earlier stages of his transition.
“Since coming out as Ryan, I’ve felt this freedom that I never felt as a girl, I do things for me instead of what society deems certain genders should do,” Ryan said.
“I believed it to be fate, I’ve never been a devout follower of religion, but I felt like it was a sign to have a child before I was in too deep with testosterone treatments.
“When I found out I was pregnant, Hendrick truly became my everything.”
Despite the difficulties Ryan faced with his body dysphoria, he was fully supported through his pregnancy journey by friends, family and medical team.
“My GP was slightly worried about complications, but the course of my pregnancy ran pretty smoothly,” he said.
“Thankfully, I had a wonderful team of midwives that would address me with the appropriate pronouns, and if they made mistakes they would always apologise. Sometimes they’d have questions, and it felt great to be able to answer them without them trying to offend me in anyway.”
He added: “My mum, Janette, 57, has been super supportive the entire way through. Without her, I’d be lost, she does so much for both Hendrick and I, and acts like a super-hero co-parent.
“She’s read all of the books and understands the way in which I’d like him to be brought up.
“My ex-partner doesn’t want to be in the picture, but I’ve got the full support of the rest of my family and friends.”
Ryan is now considering having more children.
He said: “I got to chest feed Hendrick when he was born, as I knew it was the healthiest and best way to aid him in his growth.
“In 2021, I had top surgery to remove my breasts which felt amazing, although I am sad at the thought of not being able to chest feed any of my future children.
“I’d love to have a bigger family in the future, so I’m holding off on anymore surgeries for now until there are more options that I am comfortable with. It’s so great being Hendrick’s parent, being a dad just feels right to me.
“I’ve had so many people stop me when I’ve been out and about with him that comment on me being a good dad, it just feels incredible.
“I’m finally the person I want to be, and I’ve got a mini-me to share that journey with.”
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