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United Kingdom

Taxpayers fund £500,000 study for Britain's health chiefs to improve treatment of 'pregnant men' 

Hayden Cross was reported to be the UK’s first pregnant man and gave birth in 2017. Researchers intend to study the ‘practices, experiences, and healthcare needs’ of men who may seek to, or become, pregnant and give birth after gender transition

More than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money is being spent on helping health chiefs improve the treatment of ‘pregnant men’.

Many trans men – those born female but who now identify as male – do not undergo surgery to remove their female reproductive organs.

By retaining their womb and ovaries, some are still able to conceive and carry a child.

Researchers intend to study the ‘practices, experiences, and healthcare needs’ of men who may seek to, or become, pregnant and give birth after gender transition. 

They say it will benefit the public by increasing awareness of the issue.

However, news of the study last night provoked a furious response from campaigners.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, of Transgender Trend, said: ‘It’s an absolute waste of public money, a misappropriation of public funds, not just because the research is worthless, but it’s harmful in the message it sends. Men cannot get pregnant.’

News of the funding comes at a time when there is fierce competition for grants to carry out medical research.

The £502,251 of taxpayers’ money comes from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of the Government-funded quango UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Many trans men – those born female but who now identify as male – do not undergo surgery to remove their female reproductive organs. By retaining their womb and ovaries, some are still able to conceive and carry a child [File photo]

Its website provides details of the project, led by Leeds University, under the heading Pregnant Men: An International Exploration Of Trans Male Experiences And Practices Of Reproduction. It says: ‘Many male transgender people (hereafter termed trans men) transition without undergoing surgery to remove their reproductive organs or reconstruct their genitals.

‘Gender transition from female to male, then, does not necessarily take away the ability or, importantly, the desire to reproduce. The overall aim of this project is to gain an in-depth understanding of the practices, experiences, and healthcare needs of the growing number of men who may seek to, or become, pregnant and give birth after gender transition.’

It adds: ‘We aim to explore the feelings, experiences and healthcare needs of transmasculine people (including trans men and non- binary individuals) who wish to or become pregnant.’

Wyley Simpson, 28, is pictured above with his baby bump. The transgender man gave birth to a baby boy. While there have been high-profile cases of trans men giving birth, the number who have done so is unclear

Sam Packer, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This would be a joke if it were not for the massive amount of taxpayers’ cash being lavished upon this ridiculous project.

‘This quango should be focusing its spending on potentially vital innovation, not frittering it away on fashionable projects.’

A Leeds University spokesman said the project’s lead researcher, Professor Sally Hines, was now working for Sheffield University and declined to comment further.

UKRI said: ‘Applicants to the ESRC’s research grants are free to research any topic within ESRC’s remit. The process is highly competitive and the decision to fund this research on trans male experiences was made via a rigorous peer review process based on excellence.’

While there have been high-profile cases of trans men giving birth, the number who have done so is unclear. In 2017, Hayden Cross was reported to be the UK’s first pregnant man.

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