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Earlier this year a trans man in Berlin gave birth to a child. The case highlights the difficulties government agencies face in dealing with transsexuals. Germany eliminated rules in making a sex-change operation a prerequisite for recognition of a new gender. The news that came on April 11 sounded like a medical miracle. But it was not exactly a biological sensation. The "man giving birth" was a so-called trans man: Now the trans man, despite the pregnancy and childbirth, wants to be recorded on the birth certificate as the father and not the mother, "because, as he states, he is in fact not the woman who gave birth to the child, but a man," the internal memo reads.
In , German civil registries counted only "cases subject to the Transsexuals Act," in which people entered a different first name or gender than that which they were given at birth into the marital status registry.
In and , by contrast, there were 1, and 1, such cases, respectively. The main reason for the increase in cases is a January decision by the German high court, under which transsexuals are no longer required to undergo a risky operation and the sterilization associated with it before they are legally permitted to change genders. Two psychological assessments are sufficient. This makes changing genders easier today than it was in the past.
It also means that it is highly likely that there are now hundreds of women in Germany capable of fathering a child and men who can become pregnant. A case in point is US citizen Thomas Beatie, who made worldwide headlines in as a man who became pregnant. The civil registry has entered him as the father and, in doing so, has ventured into a legal no man's land.
The child, conceived with donated sperm, officially has no mother, which is problematic under the law. The case constitutes a "legal loophole," said Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the socially liberal, pro-business Free Democratic Party FDP who has been trying for months to close that loophole with a new Transsexuals Act. But the Interior Ministry, headed by conservative Hans-Peter Friedrich and responsible for civil registration matters, is blocking the effort.