Medical miracles as COVID dad gives birth in world first


A Queensland transgender dad has made medical history by becoming the first person in the western world to birth a COVID baby naturally.

Maaike, a 43-year-old from regional Queensland, was nine months pregnant when he tested positive to COVID-19.

The dad-of-two, who also has cystic fibrosis, required a multidisciplinary team of medical experts to ensure the safe delivery of the child back in March. In the early days of the pandemic little was known about the coronavirus and how it would impact pregnancy and birth. C-sections were considered safer with less chance of transmission to the baby than a natural birth.

Maaike's partner Holly Zwalf said they knew they would be a standout couple in the birthing suite, but had no idea that the pandemic would throw the birth into an unknown and frightening world.


Maaike with partner Holly Zwalf and their miracle baby
Maaike with partner Holly Zwalf and their miracle baby


Ms Zwalf said medics told the couple that it was the first birth to COVID-positive parents outside of China and the first non-Caesarian COVID birth in the world.

The incredible set of circumstances around the birth was the biggest challenge the couple have faced in their two-year relationship.

Mr Zwalf, a blogger and author, has detailed the experience her "unconventional" family endured in a first person piece for the Sunday Mail, below.

Respiratory disease and virus expert Prof Robert Booy said he found the baby's safe birth to a cystic fibrosis parent who tested positive to COVID-19 remarkable.

But the rainbow family's unconventional birth is now the focus of research by the Infectious Diseases Department at the Sunshine Coast University. Maaike was required to stop taking hormones during the pregnancy and was able to "chest feed" after the baby was born.

The family is now virus free and Maaike is trying to be identified as the father on the child's birth certificate.

Queensland law requires transgender people to go have reassignment surgery before they can change their gender on a birth certificate.

"This is important for parents and child and it is time the Queensland government moved forward on this," Ms Zwalf said.

Queensland is one of the last two states that demands the surgery and the Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland has been pushing for change.

"There are rising numbers of transgender people having babies and the Government needs to get used to that," Kristine Johnson from the association said.