Article by Chris Hook /
August 9, 2019 /
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Last year, 13 men gave birth in NSW.
Medicare figures released this week show they were among 22 men nationwide to give birth during the 2018-19 financial year, out of more than 35,000 people to give birth nationwide.
That’s slightly up on the previous year in which 15 men gave birth across the country.
But it is well down on the 55 men who gave birth in 2014-15, the 44 men who gave birth in 2015-16 and 37 men in 2016-17.
And from 2000 to 2012, no men gave birth – just one “unknown”.
The men are transgender men who are still physically able to bear children.
Caitlyn Jenner factor
Melbourne University academic Dr Lauren Rosewarne said transgender people were becoming increasingly visible and so more likely to nominate their gender when giving birth and, because of administrative changes, they were now able to do so.
“I think certainly you can date it to when we started to become more interested (in transgender people), the Caitlyn Jenner factor,” she said.
“There was a heightened visibility, culturally.”
The sudden appearance of men giving birth on Medicare records stems from a federal government administrative change in 2013 that allowed departments to recognise a gender other than the one somebody was born with.
“The Medicare system was progressively updated to removed gender-based MBS item limitations to comply with the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, which commenced in July 2013,” a Department of Human Services spokesperson said.
It meant that Medicare items that could not previously be paid to men, could then be paid – so pregnant trans men were then able to have their new gender recorded.
The Department of Human Services has been contacted for clarification.
Rosewarne said the numbers reflected changing ideas about gender.
‘For a lot of young people this is the norm now.’
She said for younger people, especially, gender is no longer a binary issue of male or female, and so the idea of men having babies was not a radical one.
“For a lot of young people this is the norm now, they are used to spending time with people who are trans,” Rosewarne said.