In an echo of the case of Thomas Beatie, a transgender man who preserved his female organs and was billed as the world’s first pregnant man in 2007, Aussie men are now also having babies, C-sections and abortions.
The surprising statistics have been confirmed by Australia’s Health Department.
According to the Medicare data, there were 16 men who gave birth in NSW last year, 22 men in Perth, seven in Victoria, one in Tasmania and two in South Australia.
No men gave birth to babies in the Northern Territory.
The men involved are likely to be people who were born female or with female sex organs who identified as male, or commenced gender reassignment surgery, but retained the physical capability to give birth.
“The department is aware of cases of persons identifying themselves as male having pregnancy related treatment which can be claimed under Medicare. Previously these items could not be paid to male patients,’’ a health department spokeswoman said.
The world’s first pregnant man Thomas Beatie went on to have three children and has expressed hopes of having a fourth.
“How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible,” Mr Beatie wrote of his experience.
“Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am. In a technical sense I see myself as my own surrogate, though my gender identity as male is constant.”
The spike in men giving birth is a result of Australia changing the guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender that came into force on July, 2013.
These changes require that personal records held by all government departments and agencies recognise that individuals can be identified as a gender other than their sex at birth.
As a result of the changes, a number of Medicare items that could not be paid to male patients are now available including pregnancy management, abortions and D & Cs.
“To comply with the guidelines, the department has updated its policy on changing sex/gender under Medicare. Individuals are now able to change their sex/gender to what they identify with,’’ a spokeswoman for the Health Department said.
“This change reflects that some individuals while identifying themselves as male still require and are eligible for services previously only provided to people identified through their Medicare records as female (such as gynaecological services),’’ the health department said.
The statistics on men giving birth were first publicised by conservative blogger Bernard Gaynor. According to Medicare, 44 men had abortions or D & Cs in Australia last year. Official statistics on how many had abortions are unclear because Medicare uses the same item code for abortion and D & Cs in the event of a woman having a miscarriage.
Transgender Victoria spokesman Sally Goldner said the statistics were not as surprising as they may first appear.
“Surgery for many people is costly, invasive, some people might not be able to have it for medical issues,’’ she said.
“I am not surprised in anyway. People’s beliefs about body and gender identity expression have deep roots. Sometimes when that is questioned I can understand people have to think about it. “
Ms Goldner said there were good reasons to change the previous rules that forced transgender people to have documents and passports that stated they were one gender when they now identified as another.
“To have documents that still say you are a male or a female causes all sorts of problems and distress,’’ she said.
“The critical documents are birth certificate For people who haven’t had surgery or are not able to have it they are left in limbo.’’