Brit transgender couple are first to have twins thanks to IVF gift from tragic friend

A mum and dad pose proudly with their babies in a history-making family snapshot.

Adrianne and Michael Elson-Steven have become the first transgender couple in the UK to have twins.

They put their reassignment operations on hold to finally achieve their dream of a family thanks to an IVF legacy from a tragic friend.

And last month dad Michael, 42 – formerly called Lindsay – had girls Christin and Mavis by caesarean section while proud mum Adrianne waited nervously for their birth.

After years of abuse for being a trans couple followed by agony over failed pregnancies, it was an overwhelming moment for the brave pair.

“I feel so blessed, complete,” says train shunter Adrianne, 49. “I never believed they’d be here – so when I look at these girls now, my tears fall. I’m filled with such love for them and Michael.”

And Michael – who faced a major challenge being pregnant as a trans man – says: “It was a lot to deal with in my head. Being a male and carrying a pregnancy for nine months really tested me.

But in my heart becoming a parent was my priority, and using my body as a vessel to create these little miracles was just a means to an end.”

Now exhausted but elated, they’re changing 20 nappies a day after Christin arrived on November 4 followed two minutes later by sister Mavis.

“Our lives have been turned upside down, our flat is filled with baby equipment, our routine is inside out and we don’t sleep,” says Adrienne.

“But we’re loving every moment of it. It’s real, messy, noisy and busy but it’s the best thing in the world.”

The couple met in 2010 at The Butterfly Club, a trans support group in Belfast.

Michael was stunned as Liverpudlian Adrianne turned up after a ballet class still in her outfit.

“She looked really cute. I never thought she’d even notice me,” he says.

But he needn’t have worried.

When I met Michael, my stomach flipped. He was so engaging and very funny,” says Adrianne. “I started putting out signals but he didn’t notice so I assumed he wasn’t interested.”

The pair’s shyness melted on a forest walk when Adrienne plucked up the courage to tell Michael how she felt.

“He just grinned and said he felt the same. We’ve been inseparable since,” she says.

“I moved to Northern Ireland in 2005 when I got the chance to drive trains – but I think God, the universe or fate drew me to Belfast and my Michael.”

They got engaged in 2012, had a church blessing in 2014 and began to plan to fully transition through medication and operations – but only after trying for a baby.

“We’d had one round of IVF on the NHS but it turned out to be unsuccessful,” says Adrianne. “We were so sad our friend Christopher Luke said he’d leave us money in his will to go private.”

They took it as a touching gesture to ease their unhappiness.

“But when he died of pneumonia in 2017, we discovered he’d changed his will. Without him we’d never have our daughters. His was a gift from heaven.”

The couple had rounds of IVF at the Manchester Fertility Clinic in 2018 costing £3,000, then at the Instituto Bernabeu, Alicante, last year for £15,000.

On the second attempt in Spain, Michael had two embryos placed in his womb, giving him a 60 per cent chance of success.

But he was so sure the last treatment had failed, he secretly took the pregnancy test early to compose himself enough to comfort Adrianne.

“I couldn’t grasp it. It said positive. I showed her the test. We thought it must be wrong. I took another test and that was positive too. Adrianne cried. My mind raced to things I needed to do, rearrange the flat, buy baby clothes, nappies, bottles.

“Adrianne at first couldn’t believe it. It was exhilarating.” And just as they got used to expecting one baby, they discovered they were having twins at the 12-week scan.

Adrianne says: “I nearly fainted. There were two little hearts pumping. Our families were delighted but promised to keep the news quiet. We were so afraid of losing them.

“Michael had really bad morning sickness and was admitted to hospital. I took a change of clothes and toiletries for him on the maternity ward and the reception staff looked at me like I was mad. I roared with laughter.”

Trans support specialist Michael felt nervous about being admitted to an all-female ward at Belfast’s Royal Jubilee maternity unit, part of the city’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

But he says: “The staff were fantastic and I was given a side room.”

The couple were so touched by the tenderness of the staff they named one of the girls after the hospital.

Michael says: “Christin Lynda Victoria is named for our friend who left us money for the IVF, Adrianne’s mum and the hospital. And Mavis Irene Hazel is named after my mum and my aunts.

“The girls’ birth certificates and registration will name me as mother for now, but it’s something we hope to change in time. I do fear being shouted at in the street and I ask that we’re left in peace to parent our children in a loving safe home.”

The couple still intend to transition fully.

Adrianne says: “I postponed treatment when I met Michael and committed to having a child.

“Now Mavis and Christin are our priority. If we transition fully, it’ll happen at the right time dictated by our daughters’ needs.

“We’ve had lots of challenging times. We’ve been abused as trans people but we can face anything together. Ours is just a story of love.

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“And if telling it enlightens one person who hates trans people, then I think we’ll have done our duty.

“We’re not militant trans people, we don’t fit that box. We’re just Adrianne and Michael, mum and dad to Mavis and Christin.”