Freddy McConnel started his journey to fatherhood back in 2016 which was filmed over three years as part of a new documentary which air tonight.
The 32-year-old, who is transgender and was born female, fell pregnant with his first child using a sperm donor in 2017 despite having already transitioned into a man. Because he had decided to keep his womb in case he wanted kids, he was able to carry the little boy for nine months himself before eventually giving birth last year.
And now Freddy is sharing his remarkable journey in a new BBC documentary, Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth.
The documentary chronicles Freddy’s efforts to become a parent, from his transitioning to finding out he was pregnant to going into labour.
However, in the film, he bemoans how arduous giving birth actually is.
At one point during his pregnancy he says: “If all men got pregnant then pregnancy would be taken so more seriously and talked about.
“F***, it’s f***ing awful. If men had to go through this all the time you would never hear the end of it”.
Freddy fell pregnant on his second attempt using a sperm donor, explaining that it was much more difficult than expected.
“I think I totally underestimated the difficulty of being on camera and being filmed a lot. I remember thinking “this is really odd I’ll get used to it”, but I never got used to it.
“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.’
Freddy began taking testosterone injections aged 25 as he transitioned from female to male, which caused him to become more masculine which included developing facial hair and stopping periods.
Freddy also underwent “top surgery” to remove his breast tissue and reshape his chest – yet he chose not to have a hysterectomy because he hadn’t ruled out having a child himself.
“I don’t like it. Every time I think about it, it’s like “what the f*** am I doing?” he says in the film, before admitting that he feels like a “f***ing alien”.
As the documentary explains, Freddy, as both a gay and transgender man, felt that having his own child via artificial insemination, using a sperm donor, was the “simplest option” for him.
In the end, miraculously, Freddy falls pregnant.
The cameras are there as he gives birth with him commenting that he was “glad it was captured”.
“I look forward to sharing everything,” he has said. “I’m going to be totally open at every stage — whatever is age-appropriate.”
However, Freddy faces new challenges as the law only recognises him as a mother.
The General Register Office refused to name him as the father, pointing out that, legally, a child has to have a mother, at least on the document that confirms their existence.
Freddy’s objections have led to a High Court battle against the Government, with his lawyer arguing that it is a breach of Freddy’s human rights to force him to be recognised as the baby’s mother.
If Freddy’s case is successful, his child will be the first in Britain to, in the eyes of the law, have no mother.
Director Jeanie Finlay told the Guardian ahead of their film screening: “It’s the most challenging film I have made. It was an emotional marathon.
“I don’t think anybody realised the dysphoria that Freddy felt would be quite so difficult.
“You put someone in a situation that is enormously purposely challenging and then you add a film into the mix. That is really tough.”
It’s certainly going to be a fascinating watch, and while I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of negative comments from people, those same people should take the opportunity to learn more and perhaps understand the situation further.
Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth will air tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.
Images via BBC
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent writer, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over the course of several sex-related articles, bringing a very public shame to his family's good name.