SAN DIEGO, California –
Back in 2009, Thomas Trace Beatie, a public speaker, author, and advocate for transgender and sexuality issues with a focus on trans fertility and reproductive rights, became the first man to become pregnant. Beatie, who was born a woman, had gender reassignment surgery in 2002, and later became known as ‘The Pregnant Man.’ It was Beatie’s pregnancy that gave doctors and researchers at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego the idea of impregnating a natural born male.
Over the entire span of medical science, doctors believed human males did not have the anatomy needed for natural embryonic and fetal development. However, Dr. Paul Chambers, a pioneer of in-vitro fertilization, believed the theoretical idea of a male ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterine cavity) by implantation could be completed with close monitoring, along with some modern medical intervention.
“I don’t see why it can’t be done,” said Chambers. “Why should women have all the fun, right fellas? We’ve worked very hard on the science and health risks involved. We studied the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Junior, watching it over and over, and we don’t see why this can’t work, albeit with some strict monitoring. There won’t be any Lamze classes for our pregnant man, though.”
Dr. Chambers stresses that the concept of ectopic implantation, while theoretically plausible, had never been attempted and would be difficult to even justify to the scientific community. The need for justification, though, went out the window when they received a willing volunteer.
The 31-year-old man, who we will refer to as ‘Tom,’ volunteered for the experimental pregnancy when it was learned that his wife of six years could not get pregnant due to severe endometriosis. The risks were explained, and Tom consented.
“Even for women lacking a uterus – owing to the extreme health risks to both the parent and child, you can understand our concern for implanting a man,” said Dr. Miles Balderdash, a researcher for Scripps. “Regardless of our concerns, [Tom] was determined to give his wife a child. So we went ahead with it. I gotta say, the guy is a trooper.”
Doctors harvested several eggs from Tom’s wife, and fertilized the eggs with Tom’s sperm.
“Collecting the sperm was by-far the best part of this whole process,” said Tom. “They gave me a choice between video or magazines. I went with video. My wife doesn’t let me watch that sort of thing at home, but for science, for our baby, she said I could this once.”
Once a viable fetus was established from this fertilization procedure, Dr. Chambers implanted the fetus in Tom’s abdomen.
“Since a man does not have a uterus with the placenta, we attached the fetus to an the only internal organ the male has that could possibly sustain a fetus – the bowels,” Dr. Chambers said. He went on to explain that the colon area is made up of very vascular tissue, which can supply oxygen rich blood to the fetus. The colon is not as vascular as a uterus, but it is the most feasible choice to implant in a male.
Doctor’s at Scripp’s Memorial and researchers from San Diego State University Medical Center have been following Tom’s progress, and with proper medical treatment, he has been able to carry his baby for the past six months; However, doctors are becoming concerned.
“The weight of the baby is pushing his organs up into his chest cavity, and it is affecting his breathing. His blood oxygen levels are falling and putting the baby, and his health, at risk.”
“They’ve put me on bed rest for now,” Tom said as he wife tended to him. “As long as I keep my feet up and do as the doctors tell me, I’ll be able to give my wife the child she deserves.”
Doctors are obviously planning to deliver by Caesarean section. “We trust the doctors,” Tom’s wife said as she held her husband’s hand. “They’ve been so helpful this entire time. I just want a baby. [Tom] has been so strong this entire time. Women having been popping out babies for ages. It’s so exciting to know that we’ll be the first couple to have a baby that was grown in the father.”
Dr. Chambers noted that the abdomen is not designed to separate from the placenta during delivery, hence the danger of an ectopic pregnancy. “We never questioned whether this was going to work,” said Dr. Balderdash. “We more questioned whether [Tom] was going to live through it. He knew the risks, though, and we’re doing all we can to make sure he and the baby are safe.”
Currently Tom is still bed bound with his feet up and his wife tending to him as he breaths purified oxygen through a face mask. He says he feels great, and just can’t wait to get the ‘damn thing’ out of him.