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Male Pregnancy: Infertility Solution or Hoax of the Century?

Male Pregnancy: Infertility Solution or Hoax of the Century?


Male pregnancy.  How is it that these two words, which are as compatible as light and darkness, are appearing in the headlines of established American news media?  Over the past several weeks, the phrase has hit the airwaves and flooded the Internet like a tidal wave.  Does this trend point to a hoax, sensationalist advertising, or the next fertility treatment?

"Male Pregnancy" Case Studies

Thomas Beatie

Beatie's case has been publicized as a miracle of modern medicine: the first case of a man becoming pregnant.  Using terms like "pregnant man," "male pregnancy," and "the man who will be a mother," many news services have emphasized Beatie's gender and the lengths to which he has gone to become pregnant.  He and his wife Nancy are the portrait of expectant parents, enthralled with their miracle pregnancy. 

With descriptions like these, one might wonder if we have reached the dawn of a new era in gender identity and a sexual revolution of unheard-of proportions. 

Hoax, Sensationalist Advertising, or the Next Fertility Solution?

However, while these reports play up the fact that Beatie has all the physical characteristics of a man, they downplay one crucial piece of the story:  Beatie is a transgendered man.  Beatie underwent a sex-change operation 10 years ago and retained his uterus; his wife impregnated him by injecting sperm through a syringe.  Issues of gender and sexual identity aside, the fact that Beatie still has a uterus differentiates the scenario from that of a naturally-born man becoming pregnant.

Lee Mingwei

Lee Mingwei is a man who appears to have embarked on the journey toward child birth.   His experience of becoming and being pregnant is detailed on  According to an interview with Mingwei contained in the site, he is "biologically and anatomically male" and was impregnated through in vitro fertilization.  The embryo is growing in his abdomen as it would in a woman's uterus. 

If Mingwei is indeed pregnant, this could signal the next frontier in infertility solutions.  Perhaps one doesn't even have to have been female by birth to carry a child?  

Hoax, Sensationalist Advertising, or the Next Fertility Solution?

There is much evidence to support skeptics' claims that Mingwei's pregnancy and website are hoaxes:

  • The websites of several major news services, including CNN, NBC, and BBC, make no mention of Mingwei.
  • Mingwei is a graphic artist whose online portfolio includes   
  • does not provide contact information for the RYT Hospital at Dwayne Medical Center (the hospital where Mingwei reportedly underwent his operation). 
  • The "News and Press" page of Mingwei's site links to several well-known media publications, among them the U.S. News and USA Today.  However, these links do not lead to the publications' official sites, and the official sites contain no references to Mingwei or his pregnancy. 

Reader Beware

While any discussion of "male pregnancy" must touch on sensitive issues such as infertility, childbirth, parenthood, gender, and sexual identity, the subject nonetheless has the potential to be a socio-political Pandora's Box.  Sensationalistic propaganda risks turning a delicate issue into mere tabloid fodder, and readers are wise to question every headline.

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