Tag Archives: science in society

Meet Pregnant Man

Meet Pregnant Man.

We recently made a film that we hope will get people thinking (and that you might consider using in the classroom!).

Watch our Pregnant Man tell his story

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?

 

Royal resources

Did you know? The Royal Society has a whole selection of curriculum-linked science teaching resources for Key Stage 2, 3, 4 and 5. (But do explore what’s available for other key stages than your own, because many activities and experiments can be adapted)

The site is called Invigorate and the resources are based on the work of scientists connected with The Royal Society (eg Isaac Newton). The big thing is that they make the link between ‘historical’ science and our lives today, or how today’s scientific research might impact on the society in future. In other words, they reinforce to your students that science is a part of society; the context in which discoveries were made affected those discoveries, just as much as those discoveries changed society.

X-ray imaging changed the world

X-ray imaging changed the world. Image Noosaradiology.com

Pop over to the site and have a good look through the available resources -from quizzes to practical experiments- which are also linked to plenty of really useful background material like videos and podcasts. Loads of the experiments are based on the projects on display at the Summer Exhibition 2011, so your students can feel connected to real science going on today, and you can find out more about the scientists behind the research too.

Hopefully you will find these resources useful inside and out of the classroom. We really like that they link science in the classroom to science in the world around us and also to the people doing that science- a really important way for students to appreciate how science shapes our world.

Good luck!