Italian Transgender Man Found to be Five Months Pregnant after Undergoing Mastectomy as Part of Gender Change Procedure

This unprecedented case, considered the first of its kind in Italy, categorizes him as a member of a small group referred to as "seahorse dads"

  • Updated

An Italian transgender man who underwent chest surgery as part of his transition was found to be five months pregnant, making him part of the uncommon category known as "seahorse dads." The revelation came after a mastectomy undergone by the individual, identified as 'Marco', as part of his gender transition process to remove his breasts, the Telegraph reported.

Having undergone a psychological evaluation several years ago, Marco was close to completing his gender transition. Italian reports mentioned that Marco had been assigned a male name by authorities, had developed facial hair, and was in the process of preparing for an operation to remove his uterus before the revelation was made.

Shocking Discovery

Operation Theatre Plastic Surgery OT Surgeons Doctors
Representational Image / Pixabay

However, medical staff at a hospital in Rome discovered the pregnancy, leading Marco to suspend hormone therapy and casting doubt on the progression of his transition.

"Having discovered the pregnancy the first thing to do is to suspend [hormone] therapy immediately," Dr. Giulia Senofonte, an endocrinologist, told La Repubblica, the news outlet that first reported it. The gender therapy expert warned that there might be potential risks to the fetus.

"If the halting of the therapy is not immediate, there could be consequences, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, which is an important time for the development of the baby's organs," Senofonte said.

"It's difficult to talk about it in abstract terms but it all depends on the timing of the suspension of the dosages of testosterone that the person is taking," she added.

Senofonte said that elevated levels of both male and female hormones in the parent's body pose cardiovascular risks due to potential issues with blood pressure and coagulation, according to the Times of London.

"Hormone therapy blocks the menstrual cycle but it is not a contraceptive. The person can continue to ovulate and, consequently, runs the risk of pregnancy," she said.

"People dealing with transition usually recommend contraceptive pills that can be used during hormone therapy," the expert added.

Life-Changing Discovery

Surgeons Doctors Operation Theatre Surgery Medical Hospital
Representational image / Pixabay

According to La Repubblica, Marco, who plans to proceed with the pregnancy, will be recognized as the child's biological mother but will be legally registered as the father. This unprecedented case, considered the first of its kind in Italy, categorizes him as a member of a small group referred to as "seahorse dads" – transgender men who bear children, as reported by the Telegraph.

The term "seahorse dads" is derived from the biological phenomenon where male seahorses carry and give birth to their offspring.

In Italy, abortion is allowed only after 90 days in cases of severe fetal defects or substantial health risks for the mother. However, Matilde Vigneri, a consultant at a gender dysphoria clinic in Palermo, suggested that the psychological stress stemming from the unique maternity situation could potentially be grounds for a therapeutic abortion.

"If Marco's pregnancy goes ahead Marco will find himself to be both a biological mother and legal father," she said, the Times of London reported.

"It will be a shock. Here same-sex families are still without rights, just imagine a child born in such special circumstances," Vigneri said.

Toni Brandi, the president of Pro Vita e Famiglia, a conservative Catholic foundation, expressed the hope that Marco would choose to permanently discontinue his therapy.

While there have been instances of transgender males giving birth in the United States, this case is considered unprecedented in Italy.