BY: AYA TSINTZIRAS
In a 1994 article in The New York Times, Dick Teresi cites the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Junior where a scientist, Dr. Alex Hesse, becomes pregnant after being implanted with an egg and taking a fertility drug he invents. Teresi researched the possibility of male pregnancy along with another writer and several scientists, and wondered if the womb was really necessary after all. He gave the example of abdominal pregnancy, which occurs in one in every 10,000 pregnancies and takes place outside the womb. Teresi outlined a possible way for males to give birth: if an egg is fertilized through in vitro, an embryo is inserted into the abdominal cavity, and the embryo results in a placenta. Then a lot of luck and hormones would be needed for a laparotomy delivery, which is basically a C-section.
What if men could get pregnant? An Internet subculture is asking that question and more. Mpreg Central is a popular forum that explores the idea of male pregnancy, offers a place for males to write stories, share art and discuss anything ranging from maternity clothes to weight gain. There’s even a blog for subjects that don’t quite fit into the other sections— like what exercises would you do during hypothetical pregnancy? (Swimming and yoga are popular answers.)
At first glance, it’s easy to treat the site negatively – Buzzfeed has run a series of articles portraying male pregnancy as the joke of the decade, with photo shopped images of a pregnant Justin Bieber. Looking a little deeper at the forum discussions proves this community is earnestly interested in being pregnant and giving birth, feeling a disconnect between the gender associated with and the sex ascribed. Much of the content of the fiction and art is sexual – Mpreg focuses on males getting pregnant from other males, after all – but the thousands of replies to certain forum topics shows that it is the natural responsibility of nurturing and birthing new life that participating men crave most.
A man has gotten pregnant before – Thomas Beatie is considered the first one to not only become pregnant, but also to actually go through with birth. However, there’s a reason why this was possible: Beatie is a transgender male who had a sex change, but opted to keep his womb.
In his article, Teresi concluded that abdominal pregnancies would be too dangerous: 70 percent of babies born as a result of abdominal pregnancies don’t survive, and 10 percent of women don’t survive those pregnancies, either. With the risk of a surgery-induced pregnancy so high as to possibly justify modern technology, it appears that the men at Mpreg Central will have to wait for technological advances to liberate them from the limitations of their natural bodies.