Friday, July 20, 2007

Getting Patrick Pregnant

The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
I met Patrick in the fall of 1995. By spring, we lived together. We were 20 years old and in college. My degrees are in English, but that entire year, I studied theory. Queer theory, feminist theory, critical theory. In one class, called Bodyworks, about cyborgs and organ transplants and plastic surgery and gender reassignment, my professor, Timothy Lenoir, mentioned that somebody in England was offering a million dollars to the first man who volunteered to get pregnant. 'You'd be perfect,' I told Patrick. He didn't disagree. We were outspoken feminists....

Sure, Patrick would be a great father, I've always thought. But he'd be an even better mother. Meanwhile, I am career-driven, impatient, and overbooked. I would work. He would stay home at least part-time. He would be the 51-percent parent...

it's basically an ectopic pregnancy. these can be carried out safely in women, although it's rare. we'd do in vitro fertilization with my egg and your sperm. the fetus would be injected above your intestine into your abdominal cavity. it would hook up to your circulation system by attaching to an organ. (they just need a line, they do most of the rest, and you'd take female hormones, too.) it's like a cross between IVF and the preparation for a sex change.


naturally, it's reversible.


then, you'd deliver by c-section. the delivery wouldn't be dangerous for the baby but could be for you, because the placenta would be attached to your organs instead of to the inside of a uterus. but even that could be solved, since it's possible you could have a uterus transplanted to contain the fetus. ...

Glenn McGee considered getting pregnant when he was a wunderkind bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics. It was 1999, and revered British scientist/IVF-pioneer Lord Robert Winston had just announced in London's Sunday Times that "male pregnancy would certainly be possible," a concept he outlined in his book The IVF Revolution.

Another British fertility expert, Dr. Simon Fishel, put it bluntly: "There is no reason why a man could not carry a child. The placenta provides the necessary hormonal conditions, so it doesn't have to be inside a woman."

"Having reviewed all the science, what we know is this," says McGee, now director of the Alden March Bioethics Institute in Albany, New York. We talked a couple of weeks ago on the phone. "These little creatures are very much self-determining, much more than we knew even 10 years ago. So could they be born? Yeah, probably." ...

The science isn't the problem.

"I would have been first in line, I really would have," McGee tells me. "I actually thought it would be kind of cool to be pregnant—I was jealous, in a way."

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