We’ve always known that pregnancy happens to women only, that they're the ones designed to carry a child and nurture it inside their wombs. This is how it has been from time immemorial. But has anyone of you ever thought about men getting pregnant? No, of course not! Most of you would laugh at such a preposterous idea! But give it a thought.
Imagine that you’re at a pregnancy class and suddenly you spot men carrying bumps (baby bumps, not beer bumps), sitting around with their partners and enjoying the proceedings of the event. What a sight that would be! And how on earth could this ever be possible? Remember the 1994 American comedy film, 'Junior,' which showcased Arnold Schwarzenegger as a scientist who undergoes male pregnancy as part of an experiment?
A man getting pregnant might sound like something beyond imagination, but it's actually something that has been made possible. Collect your jaws off the floor ladies, we’re going to explain how. But you have to be patient for that. Scientists and researchers have been trying for decades to find out whether or not the male body can ever become pregnant. And without further ado, here’s our take on the topic!
9 World’s First Pregnant Man
While all the experiments about male pregnancy were yet underway in the world, the world got its first pregnant man ever in 1999! Shocking, huh? If it was such a huge deal, we’d all have heard of it, right? Mr. Mingwei was an artist who held exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Cleveland Museum of Art. His basic areas of work were the simple everyday happenings in one’s life.
The news about his pregnancy was first broken by the website MalePregnancy.com. This particular website said Mr. Lee to be the first man in the entire world to ever become pregnant. It also featured a lot of news reports, documentaries, pictures, video clips, ultrasound images and blood pressure measurements as evidences to show that he was actually pregnant and nurturing a life within his womb.
An extremely lengthy interview of Mr. Lee Mingwei’s was published by the website, which was conducted personally by Janice Versalius, a writer of PaperVeins magazine. In it, Lee was quoted as saying that science and medicine have developed a great deal and that Mingwei’s bringing a child into this world was something very natural and beautiful.
There were quotes from religious hardliners featured as well, which condemned this act and called it an abomination that was against the will of God (surprise, surprise.)
The website explained how the scientists used In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) techniques to stimulate an ectopic pregnancy inside Mr. Lee’s body; they had implanted an embryo and placenta into his abdominal cavity, just beneath the peritoneum (the surrounding lining). The delivery of the baby was stated to require an open surgery (Cesarean section) to remove the baby as well as the placenta.
But then, the entire incident turned out to be an extremely elaborate and well planned hoax by artist/filmmaker Virgil Wong. He had portrayed everything as part of an ‘art installation’. He defended his actions by saying that his art projects on the internet explore themes arising from contemporary medicine, and that male pregnancy was just a part of the same.
Needless to say, both before and after the revelation of the news, MalePregnancy.com received a lot of media attention and to date, still keeps fooling thousands of people around the world into believing that a pregnant man is an actual scientific possibility. In fact, a lot of men even contacted the website, as well as Wong, seeking to become the next pregnant man.
8 So, Is Male Pregnancy Really Possible?
Simply put, the answer is a resounding NO. This is because the male body is not biologically designed for carrying the embryo within it, nor for the development of the fetus. Researches have studied male pregnancy and believe that pregnancy outside the uterine cavity, i.e. ectopic pregnancy, can be carried out in males by implantation (as the case of Mr. Mingwei portrayed).
But this is still a theoretical concept and experts have authenticated that no practical has ever been carried out so far as this theory has not been justified yet.
Had this concept been practically possible, then women without uterus would benefit the most from it. But doctors fear that carrying out the experiment might pose serious risk to the life of both the parent and the child, which is why it’s never been carried out.
7 But What Would Happen If Men Could Get Pregnant?
Now this one’s quite an intriguing question - how would the world and everything in it behave if men could get pregnant? How would guys react to the changes in their bodies and accept those as well? Would they experience the same feelings as women do? Would the process of giving birth to the baby be the same, as is in the case of women?
Well, we obviously can’t answer all questions, but according to us, here are some of the changes which would occur if men got pregnant -
- 1.Pregnancy Products and Advertising
- Markets would be flooded with ‘manly’ male pregnancy products, and this would include items like body pillows and belly supports.
- Then there would be various kinds of lotions and body care products, robes (not maternity dresses, mind you) designed especially for men (like pregnancy vest solutions), slide-on shoes and wardrobe extenders. International designers would work on creating a special segment for pregnant men – an entire range of Paternity dresses and formals and it would be in fashion to dress in those clothes even if you weren’t pregnant.
- You would also get to see male models with baby bumps advertising such products in newspapers and magazines. Television commercials would be specifically designed keeping in mind ‘the feelings of a pregnant father towards his baby-to-be-born’ and instead of working with a soft color palette, the focus would be on blacks, browns and deep blues.
6 How Would the Public React to the Pregnant Man?
Since seeing a pregnant man would be a rare occasion, how would the wider public receive such a miracle? There are so many men with beer bellies that it would be difficult to know (in the beginning) if one is pregnant, or just fat.
Imagine the confusion that would happen when a 30 year old with a beer belly would walk about parking lot, stuffing his grocery inside his car when he would be stopped by a good Samaritan to help him. That would make him so embarrassed! And hopefully, it’d encourage him to lose weight as well.
Men would be able to keep their pregnancies a secret till the day of delivery; people would assume that it’s just all that bear showing. This means no pesky questions, no touching your belly and all those other things that pregnant mommies hate so much! What a relief!
This role reversal would be extremely transformitive
And if we look on the other side, men with beer bellies who would get pregnant would have mastered the act of carrying pot bellies. Obviously, they won’t have to put in any extra efforts for this as they won’t perceive any change in themselves in the beginning, nor would they worry about getting their pre-baby bodies back. Only the size of the bump would vary, and that too not by much.
Another question to ask is how would pregnant public spaces be shared between pregnant men and women? Would one gender get preferences at public places? Remember when the metro seats reserved for pregnant women, the sick and elderly and would be occupied by health men? Yeah, that would no longer be the case. There would be special care and attention given to a pregnant man.
People would look upon such men with empathy and anybody occupying a seat in any public transport would without hesitation offer their seat to the-man-with-the-bump. Anybody who would not do so would face a sizeable fine, because let’s face it – a pregnant man is carrying not one, but two lives with him.
The population would need to adjust quickly to male pregnancy
Men would go out of their ways to make way for pregnant men and help them with carrying their load (not their baby bumps, but their groceries) at grocery stores and shopping centers.
Smokers would take extra care not to smoke around pregnant men because it would harm their babies. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that metros and buses would have seats reserved for pregnant people and nobody would be allowed to sit on them.
5 Role Reversal
All those feelings that women experience during pregnancy would most likely be experienced by men as well. There would be a shift in roles. If the pregnant male feels the urge to have his favorite ice cream, even at 2 am in the night, his wife would have to obviously fetch it for him, no matter what.
Imagine a pregnant man sitting like a nervous Nellie, surrounded by every member of the family who is looking at him with mixed feelings. The in-laws and relatives of the pregnant man would shower him with gifts and tips on how to take care of the baby. Of course, who can forget about those suggestions about the right diet to be taken?
Needless to say, there would also be a shift in attitude, as pregnancy would not remain as something unique to women only. Men would respect women more for bearing children for thousands of years and not complaining about it was much as men have in the just one year! Yay! Equality restored.
Women might even enjoy longer parental leave if men became pregnant
For working men (and as a result, women), the time period of parental leaves would increase. Now, they won’t need to apply for unpaid leaves after the birth of their babies, but would in fact be forced on a 6 month paid leave to take care of themselves and their baby. Anything less than that would be deemed illegal by the government, because come on!
Giving birth to a baby is a hard task in itself and you don’t expect it humanly possible to take care of a baby AND work, do you? Oh, wait…. Women have been doing this since forever.
Also, this would bring an improvement in the sex ratio at workplaces – you’d get to see more female employees around, holding some of the most esteemed positions. You’d wonder where the men have disappeared, and then you’d realize they were at home taking care of their babies.
4 Shopping For The Baby
Men would totally be absorbed in shopping for things for their newborns. But what would their shopping constitute of? Cute baby toys and those soft, bright colored baby clothes? Nope. You’d get to see toys inspired from gadgets, and baby t-shirts, frocks and bibs adorned with pictures of the latest automobiles and superheroes. Yes, even the ones for girls.
When shopping for baby food, they’d probably buy the entire store (what if the baby doesn’t like the taste of Cerelac? There should be other baby cereals as an alternative). They would order special prams for their babies – prams installed with lots of snazzy buttons and gadgets, and they would look like sports cars or sports bikes.
You might even be able to imagine his bros getting in on this action, maybe even throwing him a baby shower.
On occasions, and even if there wouldn’t be any special occasion, pregnant men would be showered with gifts. And yes, they would include the usual beer mugs, deodorants, electric razors, ties, apparels and similar things, but on a LOT of how-to books, audio CD and visual DVDs regarding the baby and his father.
Because, let’s face it – women have been giving birth for so long that raising children has become part of our DNA code. But for men, this is something very new and they’d need as much help as they could get!
3 Life as We Know It Would Change
Bars and wine shops would have non-alcoholic beer specifically for pregnant males so that they can enjoy beer and at the same time ensure that it doesn’t harm their babies. And guess what? The taste of that beer wouldn’t be as shitty as it is right now.
In fact, it would be the top priority of scientists to come up with a non alcoholic beer that tasted exactly as a regular beer. There would also be competitions among men (which might get a separate category of their own in the Olympics, eventually) like the most-pregnant man or the non-alcoholic beer chugging competition.
Who knows, they might even indulge in baby-pram-racing competitions as well! ALL Sports bars would be child proofed and child friendly and not a sharp object would be in sight. The bar counters would have special baby foods and flavored milk for babies, and there would be a special baby care section wherein they could be kept under care while their daddies enjoy the events for the day.
2 Transgender Pregnancy
But enough of all the jokes. Remember when we’d told you in the beginning of the article that male pregnancy was possible? Yeah, we weren’t lying. Mingwei might have fooled many people, but the truth is pregnancy can happen in transgender men!!
We’ve understood thus far that men cannot get pregnant as they lack the uterine cavity necessary for the development of the fetus. But transgender men can get pregnant. Why? Because they have functioning ovaries (from their previous female form) and a uterus which they might not have had removed during their surgery.
Transgender pregnancy can be defined as the incubation on the embryos by transgender people. Those who still retain the body parts necessary for getting pregnant can easily give birth to their young ones. Many transgender couples have been practicing this kind of pregnancy and most of them lead a happy and normal life.
1 The Real Pregnant Men
We’ll talk here about the first transgender male pregnancy ever in the world. Thomas Beatie came to be known as ‘The Pregnant Man’ after he became pregnant through artificial insemination in 2007. Now, he is a public speaker, author and an advocate of transgender and sexuality issues.
Beatie had a gender reassignment surgery in 2002, and he chose to become pregnant through cryogenic donated sperm when he found that his wife was infertile. Many leading newspapers and journals listed him as the ‘first legally pregnant man’ and he has since given birth to three children – Susan, Austin and Jensen in 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively.
The Guinness World Records also listed Beatie as the “First Married Man To Give Birth” in 2010.
After Beatie, in 2011, an Israeli transgender man, Yuval Topper, also gave birth to a child on December 28.
As a summation, we’d like to say that studies show that men can also get pregnant, though artificially, but the practical applications of this concept are very, very debatable. Right now, it’s possible only for transgender men to get pregnant, and only those transgender men who haven’t had their female parts removed.
But in reality, don’t both the parents get pregnant as soon as the woman conceives the baby? It doesn’t matter whose body gets blessed with giving birth to a young one, as long as both the parents love and care for their baby. So the next time someone asks you or your spouse, “Are you pregnant?” Just smile and say, “No. We are pregnant.”