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Coronavirus: Trans parents unable to leave Northern Ireland after surrogate birth


Hannah and Jake Graf can’t get home to London with their newborn baby

Hannah and Jake Graf can’t get home to London with their newborn baby

Hannah and Jake Graf can’t get home to London with their newborn baby

A couple who have become the UK's first transgender mum and dad are unable to leave Northern Ireland due to the lockdown.

Millie Winter Graf, who was delivered by emergency Caesarean in Belfast on April 14, was born through a surrogate.

The baby's parents Jake and Hannah Graf are based in London.

But as lockdown loomed and their baby's due date approached, the couple made their way here for the birth, where they have been ever since.

They are over the Moon since the arrival of their longed-for daughter.

"We're euphoric," said Jake.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Hannah (33) said: "I felt entirely overwhelmed when I saw her. Jake burst into tears, I burst into tears! I hugged our surrogate and told her that words couldn't express how grateful we were to her.

"Then I looked at Millie and thought: 'Oh my God. This is my baby!' My brain did not compute it immediately."

The couple's journey to parenthood was not easy.

Actor, writer and director Jake (41) started gender reassignment in his late 20s.

Hannah, who was awarded an MBE last year, came out as a trans woman in 2013, having reached the rank of Captain in the British Army. After leaving the military in 2019 Hannah now works in finance.

Baby Millie is genetically related to Jake from eggs he harvested when he stopped taking testosterone a number of years ago in the hope that one day he would become a parent.

The eggs were fertilised with sperm from an anonymous donor, and the embryos were stored for five years.

By then Jake and Hannah had met, and after marrying in 2018 the embryo was implanted last year in a surrogate found through the National Fertility Society.

Now based temporarily in an Airbnb in Northern Ireland, where they have been for the past month having arrived just before the travel ban, the couple are waiting for documentation that will allow them to travel back home to London.

"We thought we'd prepared for everything, even the unlikely event that we'd both die, but we hadn't prepared for a pandemic," Jake said.

In fact, the couple had just returned home from a trip to the US when they made the decision to come to Northern Ireland to make sure they were there in time for their daughter's arrival.

After a ferry across the Irish Sea, taking precautions to ensure they didn't pick up the Covid-19 virus, the couple were in situ by the baby's due date of Easter Sunday.

Their unnamed surrogate was induced on Easter Sunday, and baby Millie arrived weighing 8lbs 4oz on the Tuesday.

Jake and Hannah said they will keep in touch with their surrogate in the future, but for now they can't wait to get home and introduce the new addition to the rest of their family.

Belfast Telegraph