A transgender man, who has given birth to a child and does not want to be described as “mother” on a birth certificate, has lost a legal battle.
Fred McConnell, a journalist, wanted to be registered as “father” or “parent”.
But a High Court judge ruled the status of “mother” was afforded to a person who carries and gives birth to a baby.
He said while Mr McConnell’s gender was recognised by law as male, his parental status of “mother” derives from the biological role of giving birth.
During the trial in London, the High Court heard how Mr McConnell was a single parent, who was born a woman but now lived as a man following surgery.
He was biologically able to get pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy last year, but had legally become a man by the time of the birth.
Mr McConnell’s journey to parenthood was documented in a film called Seahorse and included his thoughts and footage of him going through fertility treatment, conception and the birth of his baby boy.
When he registered the birth of the child, he was told by a registrar that the law required people who give birth to be registered as mothers, the court heard.
Mr McConnell took legal action against the General Register Office, which is responsible for the registration of births and deaths in England and Wales, accusing it of discrimination.
He said it breached his human right to respect for private and family life.
Had he been successful, Mr McConnell’s son would have become the first person born in England and Wales not to legally have a mother.
In his ruling, Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court, said: “There is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent.
“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.
“It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognised 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.'”