Hallmark holidays just got a little confusing for 22-year-old Aaden Darr of West Virginia. The transgender man is now the proud father or mother of twins.
Darr is a poster child for why gender reassignment surgery is a bad idea. His path to manhood was not a stand-alone decision, and if he had completed surgery, he would have found his dream of motherhood far more difficult to achieve.
Darr began his transgender journey as a lesbian. At the age of 16, however, he came out as transgender. He was bullied in his West Virginia school and chose to finish his education at home. He explains that in a state like West Virginia, being trans wasn’t acceptable. In fact, he didn’t realize he was trans until a friend came out to him.
Despite opposition from his parents, he underwent counseling and began testosterone treatments at the age of 18.
It didn’t take long for him to realize he wanted to have a biological child, however, and he stopped his testosterone treatments after two years to begin planning to have a baby.
While Darr notes that it’s not unusual for transmen to have unexpected pregnancies, he struggled with conception through Intrauterine insemination (IUI) with donor sperm. After five failed attempts, he was warned that the sixth try would be the last. The last round “took,” however, and he became pregnant in August 2020 with twins.
His pregnancy was physically uneventful but emotionally trying. Darr describes his self-consciousness over growing breasts again and states he was “scared to go outside.” He said that his breasts made him feel “very conflicted.”
In April 2021, his twins, both females, were born via C-section. He is currently raising the girls with his 21-year-old girlfriend, Claire Behrens, whom he met in 2022. He hopes she can give the twins a more feminine side to their childhood.
Darr denies that he suffered any bullying or abuse while pregnant and says his family, friends, and his employer, Starbucks, were very supportive throughout the pregnancy. He said that despite the five months of IUI treatments and nine months of self-consciousness and internal conflict, he would do it all again.
Darr claims that his experience as a trans parent will have a “positive” influence on his daughters because he is “more open to certain ideas.” For instance, Darr believes that clothes and toys are “gendered,” so if they “want a monster truck, they can have a monster truck.”
Darr’s experience isn’t a unique occurrence. In 2007, Thomas Beatie, also known as “The Pregnant Man,” fell pregnant through artificial insemination. His planned pregnancy was due to his wife’s infertility, and he became the first “documented legal male” to give birth in marriage. He also became the first transgender father whose wife divorced him five years later.
Beatie was able to give birth because his sex reassignment surgery only involved a double mastectomy, known as “top surgery.” He retained his female reproductive organs but legally changed his sex marker to male on all federal and state identity documents.
Beatie would go on to have two more children during his marriage and later had “lower surgery” to reconfigure his female plumbing. He documented his first pregnancy journey in a 2008 article for The Advocate. The article was accompanied by a shirtless pic of himself at the later stages of his pregnancy.
Beatie was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s First Pregnant Man.” He has been part of numerous liberal talk show interviews, several documentaries, and a reality TV show. He even appeared on 20/20.
While Darr’s experience isn’t unique and is, in fact, almost yawn-inducing at this point, it’s important for transgender reassignment surgery advocates to realize that most young trans individuals don’t know if they want to have a family until later in life.
Darr was lucky enough to get pregnant after stopping hormonal treatment, and Beatie was fortunate that he had “top surgery” and was still able to conceive and bear a child. But there is no option for kids to be coerced into aggressive gender reassignment surgery if they decide they want to have a biological child later in life.
In 2022, the Biden administration replaced the term “mothers” with “birthing people” to accommodate females who identify as males and fall pregnant. But because these female males are identified in hospital records as female, hard data on the number of “men” giving birth is unavailable. In Australia, 22 out of 35000 births were transgender pregnancies from 2018 to 2019.
But for at least one set of twins in West Virginia, Mother’s Day will be a little confusing. Perhaps Darr can claim both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to get twice the gifts.