A man who was born a woman has carried and given birth to his own daughter, after his wife was unable to fall pregnant.
Chris Rehs-Dupin, 33, and his wife Amy from Columbus, Ohio in America, knew when they met and fell in love in their 20s that they wanted a family.
As Chris — who was born Christina — was a pre-op transgender male at the time, they initially hoped that Amy could be the biological mother.
But when five attempts of intrauterine insemination — fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a uterus to facilitate fertilisation — failed, Chris, who still had his female reproductive organs, volunteered to carry their baby instead.
Chris Rehs-Dupin, as a pregnant ‘dad’
He finally gave birth to their now two-year-old daughter, Hayden, naturally on December 20, 2014, after five rounds of IUI treatment and a miscarriage.
Having Hayden made Amy, now 33, even more determined to carry a baby herself and in 2016 she had a son, Milo, after a further round of IUI.
Explaining their unusual parenting arrangements, Amy said: “We went through a lot of fertility treatments, until we finally reached a point where we needed to make a decision as to whether we were going to do more medical intervention or if we were going to switch bodies.
“We were fortunate enough to have two uteruses. So, after a lot of thought and emotion and difficulties, we switched to Chris.”
And while Chris lived as a man and didn’t feel female, he was willing to use his womb, for the good of their family.
Recalling their initial plans to have children, sales director Amy continued: “There was no question who would carry the baby. I couldn’t wait to be pregnant.”
So, in January 2013, the couple visited their local obstetrics and gynaecology practice near their home. They bought a batch of sperm from an anonymous donor, before choosing to use intrauterine insemination, placing the sperm inside Amy’s womb for fertilisation.
Chris Rehs-Dupin and baby after he put to bed.
But, sadly, three weeks later, the pregnancy test was negative.
After five IUI attempts — each costing £750 failed, they resorted to drastic action — with Chris volunteering to carry their baby instead.
Chris, who now runs children’s summer camps, explained: “When I went to university in 2007, I knew I wasn’t a woman and it was an easy realisation to make.
“I didn’t want to take hormones, because I was happy with who I was and who I was presenting myself as, but I have always been very open with Amy.”
Still, Amy’s love for Chris meant his gender was not an issue.
She added: “By the time I met him, I knew the issue of his gender was at the forefront of his mind. And, eventually, he became more masculine and lived as a man.
“Chris was my soul mate. I loved everything about him. It didn’t matter what he looked like.”
Cementing their love with a civil partnership in October 2012 and legally married in 2013 when the law changed, the couple were keen to have children.
But, when Chris finally fell pregnant, despite their excitement, they both struggled with what was happening throughout the pregnancy.
Amy confessed: “When Chris was pregnant, it was really difficult, because I always thought I would be the one to carry our children. It was definitely a strain and it was difficult.”
And while Chris started to experience the physical signs of pregnancy — he was constantly sick and his belly and breasts grew — his changing hormones strangely made his natural goatee beard grow thicker and more prominent.
“Some days, he looked like a man with a beer belly,” Amy joked.
Being pregnant was also a confusing time for Chris. He admitted: “Being pregnant is such a female thing and that’s when I started to question that it was not what I was.
“I don’t think I had a problem emotionally having a child, I wasn’t losing a part of my identity. I think the world had a bigger problem with it than I did.
“Some people think men aren’t supposed to carry children, that’s the world we live in. So, I feel like the world would see it as emasculating, that it would make me less trans but not the case for me. For me, it was an amazing experience.”
But Chris insisted he did not want to breastfeed. He said: “I had no intention of breastfeeding and I hated the fact my breasts had grown. After years of binding them flat, any pressure now left me in agony.”
Meanwhile, worried about bonding with her baby, Amy decided to take birth control pills, to trick her body into mimicking pregnancy. She also took a hormone called domperidone, to make her body produce breast milk.
Neither Chris nor Amy will ever forget the moment, when Hayden was born, weighing 8lbs and 11oz (3.9kg), and they became parents for the first time.
“I couldn’t believe we were parents,” said Chris, who explained that Amy was legally registered as Hayden’s mother, while he was listed as ‘parent.’ “We both cried, holding her in our arms. Finally, our prayers had been answered.”
Sadly, though, Amy didn’t produce enough, so they decided together that Chris would breastfeed Hayden after all.
Ironically, however, being pregnant made Chris more certain than ever that he wanted to further his transition to become a man.
He said: “I knew it would make me a better and a happier person, a whole person, to start a medical transition.
“When my daughter came, I knew I didn’t want her to be afraid of who she is and it’s important for me to model that behaviour.”
The couple also knew they wanted a second child and as there wasn’t a medical reason why Amy couldn’t conceive, they decided to give it another try.
“Seeing Chris carrying our baby increased my yearning to carry a child,” she explained.
In October 2015, Chris had an appointment to start his medical transition. Then, in January 2016, he began having testosterone injections every 10 days, while Amy fell pregnant in the same month, on her first attempt.
While the baby grew, Chris was undergoing his transition. His facial hair grew, his shoulders broadened and his features became more masculine.
“When I was the pregnant one, because I had a husband who had been there before, it was different. He understood what I was going through, what I was feeling. It was a benefit that not a lot of women have,” Amy said.
The delighted pair welcomed their second baby, Milo, into the world, weighing 8lb 15oz (4kg) on October 1, 2016.
Amy said: “We’ve been on an incredible journey as a family, but we have two amazing kids and Chris is finally happy in his own body.”
He added: “We would love to have a third child. I hope to have breast reconstruction surgery, but will not have a bottom surgery, or have my ovaries removed, so I haven’t ruled out carrying it. We’ll have to fight over it this time.”
Source: New feed