Turns out you don’t actually need a uterus to carry a baby, so what does that mean for men? Can men get pregnant?
We recently reported on a study from Bath University in which baby mice were conceived using sperm … but no egg. Well, kind of. It turns out that the fertilized embryos were in fact derived directly from eggs. So men still can’t make babies by themselves, with sperm alone, so far as we know.
But it might surprise you to learn that men can get pregnant, depending on how you define your terms. Jules Suzdaltsev has the lowdown in part two of our DNews special report.
You may recall that in 2008, Thomas Beatie made quite the splash when he gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The media dubbed him the world’s first pregnant man. But many observers claimed that the pregnancy didn’t really “count” because Beatie — a transgender man — was designated female at birth and born with a uterus.
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Medical professionals can tell you, however, that the uterus is by no means necessary for a pregnancy. In fact, every one in 10,000 pregnancies ends up with the fetus developing elsewhere in the abdomen. This can happen when, after conception, the egg moves towards the uterus but falls out of the Fallopian tube. Any pregnancy where the fetus develops outside the uterus is known as ectopic pregnancy.
The fact that a fetus can develop outside of the uterus has raised legitimate questions about whether it would be possible for men to have an ectopic implantation. Many researchers say that such a pregnancy is technically feasible — the embryo would be implanted in the abdomen, the placenta would attach to abdominal organs, and delivery would be done by C-section. Any necessary pregnancy hormones could be provided with injections.
However, such an implantation would be incredibly risky — so much so, in fact, that no ethical medical professional would even consider it with our current technology. That hasn’t stopped Hollywood from speculating on the issue, however. Check out Jules’ report for more details, including a breakdown of that whole seahorse thing.