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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

First transgender enters surrogacy agreement

Although classified as female at birth, a man has made South African legal history by becoming the first transgender person to enter into a surrogacy agreement. X was raised as a girl but identifies as male.

In March this year, the High Court confirmed a surrogate motherhood agreement, enabling X to use a surrogate.

X was born in a small rural town in the Eastern Cape. He describes his childhood as idyllic, he was raised as a girl, but he didn't feel like one.

X says she just wanted to play soccer, she enjoyed playing fighting games with boys and often beat them. She says her mother let her down easy as she would not have to do normal household chores as young Xhosa girls are expected to do.

Ethelwyn Rebelo is a counselling psychologist who specialises in gender issues. X credits Rebelo for helping him to come to terms with his gender identity.

“I had a sense of being different but unable to make sense in a little community. There was no talk of any alternative sexuality or gender difference. I remember having crushes on girls and I didn’t like wearing girls clothes.

“For the next few years I attended church and prayed and prayed, and wept, asking God to change me; when it became evident that this was not happening I decided that somehow I had been made that way,” says X.

It took many years before he was able to accept himself.

Surrogacy is typically used by gay couples or heterosexual people who are physically unable to conceive a child
X went on to marry a woman and they set up home together, but his wife didn't want any children.

South African law on surrogacy is rather strict. All surrogacy agreements have to be confirmed by a court of law.

Surrogacy is typically used by gay couples or heterosexual people who are physically unable to conceive a child.

Surrogacy lawyer, Robynne Friedman says that X had a tough hurdle to cross seeing that he was physically able to conceive and give birth to a child.

“She had always regarded herself as man and had lived her life as a boy. Later she lived as a man, dresses as a man, walks like a man, speaks like a man. She should actually be referred to as a he,” says Friedman.

It was a tough hurdle to cross in largely unchartered territory and X was quite apprehensive from the outset. But they were able to prove their case and the Judge confirmed the surrogacy agreement in March this year.

“X is presently undergoing IVF treatment to exact eggs which then fertilise with that of a sperm donor. Once the embryo is created it will be implanted into a surrogate's uterus,” says Friedman.


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