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The website MalePregnancy.com, which first appeared online in 1999, claimed to document the case of Mr. Lee Mingwei, who was supposedly the first human male to become pregnant. Visitors to the site could inspect a variety of documentary evidence about Mr. Mingwei's pregnancy. There were news reports, pictures, video clips, Mr. Mingwei's EKG, ultrasound images, and blood-pressure measurements. The site stated that the delivery date of Mr. Mingwei's child had not yet been determined. The site has now stated this for nine years (as of 2009).
Mr. Lee Mingwei, the first pregnant man.
Mr. Lee Mingwei, the first pregnant man.
The site was a hoax created by artist/filmmaker Virgil Wong, who described it as an "art installation." Wong's work, especially his art projects on the internet, often explores themes arising from contemporary medicine. The site received extensive media attention in 2000. Wong has claimed that it fooled thousands of people, and that he was contacted by numerous men seeking to become the next pregnant man.
Is male pregnancy possible?
A fake U.S. News & World Report cover, featured on malepregnancy.com The malepregnancy.com site provided a detailed description of exactly how Mr. Mingwei supposedly became pregnant. First, the site said, he received large oral doses of female hormones in order to make his body receptive to a pregnancy. Then a fertilized embryo was implanted into his abdominal cavity. The embryo itself secreted hormones to maintain its growth and development. Finally, when the fetus was ready, doctors would deliver it by caesarean section.
Medical doctors have speculated for decades about the possibility of male pregnancy, and the procedure detailed by malepregnancy.com is the one that is typically envisioned. Basically, it would involve creating an ectopic pregnancy in a man an ectopic pregnancy being the term to describe the development of a fetus outside the uterus. Such conditions do, very rarely, occur in women. However, they are considered to be very dangerous. For a man to attempt to have an ectopic pregnancy would involve very high risks, which is why it has never been attempted.
However, there have been rumors of doctors experimenting with male pregnancy. During the 1960s, Dr. Cecil Jacobson, a researcher at George Washington University Medical School, was said to have claimed that he successfully implanted a fertilized egg into a male baboon and allowed the egg to develop for four months before terminating the pregnancy. However, Dr. Jacobson never showed his pregnant male baboon to other scientists, nor did he publish his results.
In 2002 a Beijing doctor, Chen Huanran, based at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, apparently recruited volunteers to participate in a "male mother" study. He said his goal was to help transsexuals realize their dreams of giving birth. However, his project had not been approved by Chinese authorities.
MalePregnancy.com is only one of a number of medical-themed hoax websites created by Virgil Wong. All his sites explore themes suggested by modern biotechnology, and they all share the same setting the fictional RYT Hospital, Dwayne Medical Center.
Wong's other sites include genochoice.com, which invites visitors to create their own genetically healthy child online; clyven, the world's first transgenic mouse with human intelligence; and nanodocs, a site that allows visitors to monitor their health in real-time via nanotech robots.
Links and References
- "500 men sign up for male-pregnancy project in China." (May 27, 2002). Asian Economic News.
- Dick Teresi. (Nov. 27, 1994). "How to get a man pregnant." The New York Times.
- Jennifer Land. (October 27, 2000). "The third trimester of trickery from Web artist Lee Mingwei." University Wire.
The Dr. Cecil Jacobson mentioned above is probably best known for running a sperm bank where he was the only donor.Posted by Gully Foyle on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:43 PM
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