Meet Pregnant Man.
We recently made a film that we hope will get people thinking (and that you might consider using in the classroom!).
First off, let me start by saying that this is not currently possible, and a genetic male of the human species has not yet managed to become pregnant!
Thomas Beatie, the ‘pregnant man’ that you probably heard about a few years ago, is a transgender man (ie a woman undergoing gender reassignment), and actually had female reproductive organs when he became pregnant.
What we ARE saying is, ‘what if…’
- A little bit about the science behind male pregnancy as depicted in our film. It’s based on ectopic pregnancies in women where a fertilized egg implants outside the womb; the idea is that IVF would be used to fertilize an egg, and the resulting zygote implanted into the man’s abdominal cavity.
- The placenta would develop and attach to an organ in the abdomen, such as a kidney, to provide it with a good blood supply. The man would need to take loads of oestrogen and progesterone, female hormones that regulate pregnancy. Side effects of the hormones would be growing breasts, shrinking testicles and smoother skin.
- The baby would have to be delivered by caesarean, and part of the organ supporting the placenta would have to be removed during birth as well. The entire process would be really risky for both the man and the baby- but as with any medical procedure, further research could increase safety and success rates.
So, whilst it’s not a reality now, it could feasibly happen- with enough research into it. Should we do it, just because we can?
And sure, it sounds really ‘out there’ but then again, so was IVF when it first came out. Now IVF is very much accepted and even paid for on the NHS. In what circumstances would it be acceptable to have children this way?
Would the world be turned on its head if the traditional reproductive role of women were suddenly shared by men? And what would it be like for the child?
So much to consider, so much that could change! Would any of your students be willing to try it?