A transgender father who has just given birth to a baby has made medical history twice, but not for the reason you’d expect.
Maaike van Eijk, a trans man from Queensland, contracted COVID-19 from his partner when he was nine months pregnant. When he gave birth to his baby in March, he was the first Western person to have a child with COVID-19.
Mr van Eijk was also the first person who didn’t need medical assistance during the COVID birth — coronavirus has since been found to give difficulties during pregnancies and labour.
“My partner birthed his baby while in quarantine, making medical history as the first birth to COVID-positive parents outside of China, and the first unassisted COVID birth in the world,” Mr van Eijk’s partner of two years, Holly Zwalf, wrote in an article for The Sunday Mail.
Mr van Eijk, a 43-year-old from regional Queensland, transitioned to a man but was still able to birth his “miracle” baby.
He is a father-of-two, and has given birth to both kids.
However, for this pregnancy he was impregnated with the help of a friend.
His partner Ms Zwalf also has a child of her own from a previous relationship.
“We were always going to be the unconventional family in the birthing ward, but we never anticipated quite how much of a stir we would cause,” Ms Zwalf wrote.
Ms Zwalf returned from the UK in late February and had unknowingly brought the coronavirus with her.
Still in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Zwalf was just the 15th case in Queensland.
They were sent off to a quarantine in hospital, separated during this time. Ms Zwalf took her child from a previous relationship while Mr van Eijk did the same, and all the while heavily pregnant.
To make matters more complicated, the transgender dad also has cystic fibrosis.
He required a multidisciplinary team of medical experts to ensure the safe delivery of the child back in March.
However, in a world-first, he required no medical assistance during the birth.
Mr van Eijk stopped taking hormones during the pregnancy and was able to “chest feed” after the baby was born.
The family’s record-breaking birth is now the focus of research by the Infectious Diseases Department at the Sunshine Coast University.