Congratulations, Sir, You're Expecting: Pregnant Men Birthing Babies
Additional Resources About Male Pregnancy
Sympathetic Pregnancy Info
- Scientific American
Explore why some men experience pregnancy symptoms when their wives are pregnant and why scientists think this occurs.
What woman hasn't thought at one time or another that it would be nice to have the man carry the baby, get stretch marks, swollen ankles and mood swings? That is exactly what happens in the 1994 film Junior , starting Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Emma Thompson. Thanks to a special medication, Dr. Alex House (played by Schwarzenegger) is able to carry a baby in his abdomen. The movie lightly goes over some of the health risks of a man carrying a baby to term, but then goes ahead and throws all conventional medicine out the window as Alex goes through everything any pregnant woman would go through (mood swings, cravings, swollen ankles, exhaustion, morning sickness) and decides to carry his baby, whom he has named "Junior", to term.
While the thought is entertaining, the reality is that men still don't have wombs and therefore still can't carry a baby. Of course, with science being what it is, a pregnant man could one day become a reality.
Reports Of Pregnant Man Giving Birth
Perhaps you've seen the headlines stating that a man here in the United States named Thomas Beattie has successfully given birth to three healthy children. The problem with headlines is that they are short and therefore only a snapshot of the full story. The truth is that Beattie was born female and went through a sex change operation. This means, Beattie has a womb in which to carry a baby. Beattie revealed to Oprah Winfrey that it was an intentional decision to keep female parts in order to one day become pregnant. Although Beattie legally changed gender to male and had breasts removed, one could argue that since Beattie was born a woman and still retains female body parts, Beattie is not technically male.
London has a similar citizen who is often reported in headlines as a "pregnant male." However, in this case too, the pregnant person was born female and retains female body parts. Sorry ladies, there are still no recorded cases of a person who was born male and has male body parts becoming pregnant or carrying a baby.
So, Is It Possible for a Guy to Get Pregnant?
In 1978, two scientists, Steptoe and Edward began fertilizing eggs in a petri dish and implanting them into women. One can't help but wonder if one of these eggs could be implanted into the abdomen of a man and a baby grown there. Scientists disagree on whether this would work and how dangerous it would be for the man and the child.
Although an embryo will implant into any living tissue surrounding it, as we see in the case of a tubal pregnancy, the fetus needs the nutrients from the uterine lining and the ability to expand that only a womb provides. It is unlikely that we'll see a male pregnancy due to the dangers to both the man and the baby. It isn't probably that the baby would survive and the man's life might be at risk as well.
There are some men who experience the symptoms of pregnancy when their wives become pregnant. Men have been reported to crave unusual foods, have morning sickness and even feel sympathetic labor pains. It's possible that some of these symptoms are simply from the stress and exhaustion that a pregnancy and all the preparations for a new baby can bring. It's impossible to know how many men experience sympathetic pregnancies, because many do not report these symptoms or discuss them with anyone other than their wives.
Single Dads and Babies
If you're a single dad and want to have a child, don't despair. There are many children that need a good home. While it might be more of a challenge to find an agency that will allow a single parent to adopt, it certainly isn't impossible. You could also consider a private adoption. Often these occur when the adoptive parent hears of a young lady who cannot raise her child and wants to give that baby to a loving home. The adoption can be closed (the records are sealed and Mom never sees the baby again), or open (the child grows up knowing who his biological mother is and seeing her from time to time). With open adoptions, be sure to agree on terms before the baby is born. What level of involvement are you comfortable with from the bio mom? For young girls with a solid family support system, you may even want to allow visitation a few times a year. The agreement is completely up to you, but being flexible may make a single dad more appealing to a mother than a family who will never allow her to see her child.
Challenges for a Single Dad
We know a single dad. He and his wife adopted the child and then went through a divorce and he was left to raise her. He is one of the best dads I've seen, but it is a challenge for him when it comes to female issues or things a mom would normally handle, such as shopping for a bra, for example. Fortunately for him, he has an older, grown daughter, who is willing to help with these shopping trips and conversations. If you choose to raise a child on your own, make sure you have a good support system in place to handle topics that will arise as the child grows older. A parent, neighbor, friend or sister makes the perfect complement to your parenting.
What Do You Think?
What do you think about pregnant men? Do you think it's a possibility in the future? Do you think it's crazy to even think about? Do you find the thought disturbing? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.