The first trans couple in the UK to have a baby via surrogate | Hannah and Jake Graf on Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Podcast
When she saw their incredible story on the Channel 4 documentary Our Baby: A Modern Miracle, Gi knew that she wanted to sit down and chat with Jake and Hannah Graf about their journey to parenthood. As the first trans couple in the UK to have a baby via surrogate, Jake and Hannah’s story really is a modern miracle and a story full of joy.
Hannah is an army veteran and was awarded an MBE for her role there as Trans Representative and Jake is an actor, writer and director. They spoke to Gi about how they found a surrogate, having a baby in lockdown, meeting their daughter Millie and raising children with compassion, love and understanding.
Hannah and Jake met via social media when Facebook suggested they might “know” each other. Very quickly, Jake was honest with Hannah, explaining that he was all in – ready for marriage and kids. To her credit, this didn’t scare her off and she agreed to meet Jake for a date. That first date went really well: “We had this wonderful day along the South Bank in London. We talked about everything except being trans. It was touched upon very briefly but once we started talking, we talked about music and families and hopes and dreams and for once didn’t have to talk about being transgender and dysphoria and politics and all that nonsense. We just talked about what we wanted for the future and what we’d never dared let ourselves dream of”.
Despite Jake being upfront about his hopes for a relationship, Hannah explained that as a trans woman being a wife and a mother still felt very “pie in the sky” to her: “As a trans woman society, the media everyone makes you feel so crappy about yourself, they make you feel like so you’re so ugly and so unlovable that the idea that I could even go on a date or be in a relationship with someone was ludicrous, let alone get married and have kids so at that point even though Jake was saying it very seriously, I felt like it would never happen. That was probably one of the reasons why I didn’t balk and go nuts when he said it because it still felt very unachievable at that stage”.
Over time, Jake made Hannah feel safe, loved and secure and open to the concept of marriage and family and their adventure into parenthood began. Jake had previously taken the tough decision to pause his testosterone to undergo fertility preservation and had five embryos – his “five little hopes” – on ice. Once they were both ready, they began searching for a surrogate.
“Eventually we found our wonderful Laura who said she had wanted to be a surrogate for 12 years. There had been a time when she was going to have a child for her sister and her sister then miraculously got pregnant and she’d always held on to that idea to do that for another for another woman, for another parent and to give that gift that ultimate gift to another family.”
In 2020, Laura did just that when baby Millie was born.
For the rest of Gi’s conversation with Jake and Hannah (and there is *SO* much more good stuff in their chat) check out the YouTube video below below, or listen to the episode wherever you usually find your podcasts. We’re in all of the regular places! Check out all other episodes of Happy Mum Happy Baby here.