London - A woman who changes sex cannot be officially recognised as a father to her baby, Britain's most senior family judge declared on Wednesday, in a ruling that set a worldwide precedent.
Someone who conceives, carries and bears a child is a mother, even if she has switched gender and has become a man in the eyes of the law, he said.
The decision by President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane is a blow to trans rights activists and a personal setback for Fred McConnell, who has campaigned for the right to register as the father of his 20-month-old boy.
The judge said that 32-year-old Mr McConnell, a journalist on the Guardian, had fought "properly and bravely" in a cause that was of public interest. But he declared: "There is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent.
"Being a mother, whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.