Interview with the 1st Pregnant Man

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CHRISTINE:

Good evening. This is Christine Park for NBC Nightly News, here with a very special interview for you tonight. I’m here with Daniel Marley, the world’s first person born biologically male to become pregnant, very soon to be the first such man to deliver a baby. His name will, undoubtedly, henceforth appear in every biology textbook in the world. Presently and exclusively, though, he’ll be speaking with me. Daniel, it’s an honor: good evening, and a pleasure to meet you.

DANIEL:

Pleasure to meet you, Christine, and a pleasure to be here.

CHRISTINE:

Getting right down to what our viewers might want to know right off the bat: how is this possible, a male pregnancy like yours?

DANIEL:

Yeah, I’m sure people are more than a little curious about that. It’s all possible because of the coming together of a lot of different scientific advances, some of which have been around for a long time, like IVF and the C-section. They had me on an experimental hormone therapy for a whole year before anything else started, make sure my base-level hormonal state was somewhat comparable to that of a woman capable of child-bearing. That was adjusted some throughout that year, but they had it pretty well figured out theoretically before starting it in practice.

CHRISTINE:

Did you experience many negative side effects from the year of hormone therapy?

DANIEL:

Well, sure, yeah. Mood swings and general changes in emotions were the most pronounced, probably obvious to just about everyone who was around me. Some more physical stuff, too: some redistribution of fat on my body, soreness in certain sensitive areas, even got somehow hairier than usual for some reason even the doctors hadn’t anticipated.

CHRISTINE:

And after the year of hormone treatments?

DANIEL:

Yeah, then came the biggest scientific breakthrough to make this possible: the synthetic uterus they successfully installed in me. It functions just as a woman’s natural uterus would, all the piping and whatnot for nutritional support in gestating a fetus. No outlet to a passage for birth, of course, being the main difference separating it from a more typical pregnancy. Once my body didn’t reject the uterus in any way and I stayed nice and healthy for another 3 months, it was finally time for me to get pregnant. The doctors decided on an embryo from a donor couple who’d had four very healthy pregnancies, trying to minimize the possibilities for complications by using well-proven genetic material. This is a surrogacy for that couple, who’ll be getting their baby once it’s delivered, of course.

CHRISTINE:

How did they find a couple willing to put their embryo and unborn child into such an experimental situation?

DANIEL:

The couple are both medical researchers themselves, friends and colleagues of a few of the doctors on my team. They’ve been great, very happy to be a part of this whole endeavor.

CHRISTINE:

So a year of hormone treatments, 3 months to make sure the uterus was safely installed, the obvious 9 months of pregnancy you’re now almost through: how frequently have you been seeing doctors for the past 2 years?

DANIEL:

A lot, to put it mildly. They started very slowly with the hormones to be as safe as possible; I was going in three times a week for months, Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Eventually it was twice a week, then when I was responding really well and sort of evening out emotionally and physically I finally got down to once a week for the 6 months or so before I got the uterus. When they did install the uterus, they kept me in the hospital for 3 weeks to be as cautious as possible. Then twice a week for the rest of that 3 months before the embryo was implanted.

CHRISTINE:

All of this just in preparation for the pregnancy…

DANIEL:

Yes, it was pretty intense. We were swimming in unprecedented waters, so the most conservative estimates of how much care I might need always won out. When I was implanted with the embryo, even before a positive pregnancy test, I was hospitalized again. Got the positive test, stayed in the hospital for about 2 more weeks. Constant testing and inspection by every type of specialist Kartal Escort they could think of; who wouldn’t want to check out the freshly inseminated first ever pregnant man? It was just a never-ending parade of doctor after doctor; it was a huge relief when they let me go home.

CHRISTINE:

But that wasn’t the end of it, of course…

DANIEL:

Right, not even close. For the whole first trimester, we were back to Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Then Mondays and Thursdays for the remainder, right up to today. Plus different appointments with a specialist or certain fancy medical machine peppered in throughout.

CHRISTINE:

How did you come to be chosen as the first man to be impregnated?

DANIEL:

This isn’t my first time being the subject of a medical experiment; it’s been sort of a side hustle for me since I turned 18, so close to a decade now. Because I’d gone through some trials before that had all gone smoothly and I’d remained very healthy, my name was apparently on some list of suitable candidates. I imagine some luck was involved, but I was offered a rather vague opportunity involving hormone therapy and substantially more money than I’d been offered before. I figured I’d at least take a meeting for that level of compensation, and they very gently eased me into the idea of being the first pregnant man.

CHRISTINE:

Once they revealed what was being asked of you, did it take much consideration before you accepted the opportunity?

DANIEL:

No, actually. I was onboard immediately; very excited right from the moment the possibility was mentioned, to be honest. I’ve been pretty fascinated by pregnancy since I was a kid, and had for some time even harbored a tiny bit of resentment that I’d never be able to be pregnant, as a man. It’s just such a powerful thing, to be able to grow a life inside you, I was a bit jealous. So once it was on the table for me to actually do it, I jumped right in. And that’s not even mentioning the honor of being the first man to do it, which I am totally thrilled about. Amazing stuff.

CHRISTINE:

It certainly is amazing. And how about some of the early symptoms once you were expecting? Were they mostly similar to those experienced by a pregnant woman?

DANIEL:

Yeah, all pretty typical pregnancy stuff, I’d say. The morning sickness was pretty rough in the first trimester, had me completely out of commission more days than not. Unpleasant stuff: the rumors are completely true. Other gastrointestinal issues I don’t need to go into, as well. Swelling started very early, too. Feet, fingers, waist, face. And, before I knew it, maybe 11 or 12 weeks in, I could detect just a hint of a protrusion in my midsection, which was incredibly exciting, of course.

CHRISTINE:

And how about things now, at 37 weeks? What are you experiencing physically at the moment?

DANIEL:

I’m very sore and very tired, pretty much all the time. Those are the primary two, I think. The continuous swelling of every bit of you will, naturally, result in pain eventually, and it just continues to intensify. And just moving around, I mean…this belly is really heavy, you know? There’s basically a full baby in there at this point, not to mention the amount of fluids and fat I’m carrying. I feel terribly unwieldy, constantly knocking things over or unable to fit in places due to the belly. All the same stuff women go through, really. One thing I think is more pronounced for me is the amount of hair I’ve got all over me. I was a hairy guy to start with, but it’s gotten ridiculous during the pregnancy. And not to be indelicate, but, even without the mammary glands necessary to produce milk, I’ve developed something of a bosom and significantly darkened and widened nipples. Is that too much information?

CHRISTINE:

[Laughs.] No, Daniel, that’s just the sort of tidbit I’m looking for! I appreciate your sharing so much. Not to cross any lines myself, but…can we possibly get a look at the belly?

DANIEL:

Of course! [He lifts his loose collared t-shirt above his belly. It’s round but soft-looking, thick with dark brown hair, and featuring several bright red stretch marks Tuzla Escort and a navel just in the middle of “innie” and “outie.”] You can feel free to touch it, too, Christine…

CHRISTINE:

[She touches his belly, gently at first then more firmly, all around its surface.] Wow! I’ve felt my share of pregnant bellies, and the hair really does change things. It’s very masculine, I love it! And it is so, so firm to the touch: it looks a lot softer than it is. Not much room left in there at this point, I suppose?

DANIEL:

Oh, it’s tight in there all right.

CHRISTINE:

Has it dropped yet? Or, if not, is that something the doctors are expecting will happen despite your lack of a birth canal?

DANIEL:

It has dropped actually, yeah. I’ve been carrying very low for the last week-and-a-half or so.

CHRISTINE:

Would you mind standing so we can get a look at how low it’s hanging? [He stands, belly drooping down to crotch level.] It’s really down there! Has it been more painful since it’s dropped?

DANIEL:

Not more painful, just painful in different places. Pelvic pain joined the party, primarily.

CHRISTINE:

I know it’ll be a C-section, but are you getting nervous about delivering in a few weeks? Are you eager to be done with this pregnancy?

DANIEL:

I’m slightly nervous, as I think anyone would be for a surgery that really opens you up. I am eager to be done at this point, though, yeah. The swelling and growing everywhere aspect of the pregnancy really does get extremely difficult towards the end, as I’m sure any mother could attest to. I’m looking forward to comfortably moving, sleeping, and just about every other human action unencumbered by a tremendous belly.

CHRISTINE:

I’m sure you are. Are you nervous at all about delivering and turning the baby over to its biological parents? Some emotions are bound to develop even in a surrogacy, what with growing the child in your own body…

DANIEL:

I’m only a bit nervous about that. I’ll have no problem handing the baby over to its rightful parents, but I’m sure it’ll be an emotional moment. They’re really great, though, and I’m sure they’ll be holding my hand throughout. We’re all hoping I’ll be able to be some small part of the child’s life going forward, if it works out for all parties emotionally involved.

CHRISTINE:

Oh, that’s wonderful! I’m certainly rooting for you all. How has it been out in public as the world’s first pregnant man? Getting plenty of attention?

DANIEL:

Well, I started showing about 3 months in, and I was able to pass my bump off as a beer belly until well into month 6. That’s an advantage of being a pregnant man as opposed to a woman, I suppose, as we naturally carry fat more roundly in our midsections. Not to mention men’s generally looser clothing, which definitely did me some favors. So, I was able to go out pretty inconspicuously for the first two trimesters, which was great. I have always been thin, though, so the beer belly ruse didn’t last quite as long as it could have if I had more pronounced fat deposits all around. Once I started drawing a lot of stares and murmurs in public right at the end of the 2nd trimester, it was very uncomfortable at first. Sometimes, though, someone would approach and speak to me directly, asking me if I was really pregnant and really a man. And I was more than happy to share my story with anyone who showed genuine, non-judgmental interest.

CHRISTINE:

Who would approach you? Mostly women? Innocently curious children?

DANIEL:

They ran the demographic gamut, actually. Women, children, men, all pretty evenly distributed. The conversations, at least with adults, tended to end with me baring the bump and getting a rub from my new friend. I loved that. It felt like sharing a moment of magic with them…and I just really like having my pregnant belly rubbed, to be totally honest. They were generally thrilled to get an opportunity to touch the first male baby bump; I felt a bit like a celebrity sometimes. I know it runs contrary to public pregnant opinion, but I even enjoyed the unsolicited touches I’d occasionally receive. It was a self-selecting, Anadolu Yakası Escort genuinely interested group that would approach and get a rub in, so I really didn’t have to deal much with more judgmental folks that kept their distance.

CHRISTINE:

So you were generally more proud than embarrassed when out in public and conspicuously pregnant?

DANIEL:

Yeah, absolutely. I want to progress this cause of male pregnancy, normalize it and help future gestating fathers. I only had the desire to hide from public view for the first few weeks I was obviously showing; then I got to quite enjoy the sort of positive attention I attracted.

CHRISTINE:

Did you have any sense of community with pregnant women? Participate in any organized prenatal activities, for example?

DANIEL:

Yes, I took prenatal yoga and prenatal swimming classes, both really great. The pregnant women I met were fantastic across the board. Fascinated by my situation and always eager to compare notes on our experiences, share war stories, commiserate. They were awesome, super welcoming and kind to me.

CHRISTINE:

Going through something so quintessentially feminine, has this experience changed the way you think about your body at all? About your masculinity?

DANIEL:

Of course, of course. I’m hugely pregnant and seriously hairy, with a penis and testicles directly under my baby bump. It’s a mind trip. These lines society insists upon that separate and define people based on gender are being continually weakened as we speak, in some small part by this pregnancy of mine, I happily believe. It’s hard not to constantly consider your physicality, with the constant changes and loss of some bodily autonomy. I can’t ignore it, and I certainly can’t classify it as purely masculine or purely feminine. It’s both at once, and I love that about it. I do not feel like less of a man, but I do feel a far greater kinship with and respect for what women go through routinely. It’s been eye-opening and perspective-shifting, for sure.

CHRISTINE:

Please let me know if this is none of my business, but are you a single man, Daniel?

DANIEL:

Perfectly fine question. Yes, I’m single.

CHRISTINE:

Have you dipped your toe into the dating pool while pregnant?

DANIEL:

I didn’t plan on it and pretty much kept myself out of that arena prior to showing. Once showing, though, I did meet two different women who approached me in public, loved the look of the bump on me, and asked me out. Things didn’t get at all serious with either of them, but…even pregnant I’ve had needs, you know? Maybe we should just leave it at that…Pregnancy’s hormonal boost to one’s libido definitely made the transition into male pregnancy, I’ll just say.

CHRISTINE:

So, approaching the end of this pregnancy, one big question occurs to me: would you do it again?

DANIEL:

As the first man to go through this, I might end up being a valuable asset in studying how the synthetic uterus holds up to multiple pregnancies. I’d probably be the person they could most quickly impregnate for the second time, and there have been a few very preliminary talks with the doctors about the possibility. And yeah, I’d do it. Overall, even with wanting it over this late in the process, it has been a really, truly wonderful experience. Also, with my pregnancy going as well as it has, I’d imagine there will be a number of other pregnant men before I’d be pregnant again, hopefully normalizing our situation somewhat and making it a bit easier out in the world for us. That’d be fantastic.

CHRISTINE:

Finally, your pregnancy has been rather controversial, with opponents accusing the whole project of being unnatural or worse. What do you have to say to such critics?

DANIEL:

I think my pregnancy is scientific progress as well as progress toward gender equality. Very little of how the doctors pulled this off was new, basically with the lone exception of the synthetic uterus. It seems to me that the opportunity for more procreationally-challenged people to have the biological children they desire is a good thing. Basically, the critics need to get over some outdated hang-ups that are their problem, not mine.

CHRISTINE:

There you have it, folks. Daniel Marley, the world’s first pregnant man. It’s been a fascinating privilege to talk with you, Daniel. Thanks for being with me tonight.

DANIEL:

Thanks for having me, Christine.

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