MPreg, also written Mpreg, mpreg, M-preg, and m-preg, is a shortening of "male pregnancy," and stories marked as MPreg are exactly what that description suggests. MPreg as a plot device can be used well, but in most fanfiction, it's just a shallow excuse for fluff or angst with the pregnant male being portrayed as a stereotypical pregnant lady, regardless of his actual characterization. If you know of any well-written, thought-provoking MPreg fic, please tell us!
Where Does This Even Come From?
The concept of male-bodied pregnancy is not a new one. Many cultures have myths about males getting pregnant, as Humon illustrates in this comic. Conception, pregnancy, and birth were (and in some ways still are) mysterious and awe-inspiring processes, and as such, it should come as no surprise that they fascinated ancient peoples enough to tell stories about them. Heck, one of Western society's most celebrated stories of all time is about a young woman who conceived a child under unusual circumstances. You know the one.
As for why male pregnancy, why not? The mechanisms behind pregnancy were not well understood at the time, and the world is a weird place. Besides, who can account for the whims and follies of the gods? If they want to make a man pregnant or get in the family way themselves, no mere mortal is going to stop them.
Why Write MPreg Today?
These days, science tells us that cisgender men can't get pregnant by any means, so why is this still a thing? There are many possible reasons for MPreg to come up in a story, despite the obvious bad biology. However, they boil down to three main reasons:
- The story is a horror/somewhat frightening story, containing body horror or at least the extremely uncomfortable situation of a cisgendered man's body not behaving as it should (e.g. the episode "Unexpected" of Star Trek: Enterprise, or Geiger's Alien). The situation is very distressing and scary, often connected with phobias of emasculation, parasites, or the loss of control over one's body.
- The story is a comedy/humorous story, and the absurd situation is played for laughs (e.g. the movie Junior, with Arnold Schwarzenegger; this movie does contain an element of body horror, too, though). This can potentially be funny in a "see how you like it" sense.
- The story is a romantic slash/yaoi fic. This may or may not be bad slash... but unfortunately often is. This is the type that the PPC most often deals with.
Why would any writer invoke MPreg as romantic? There are some common reasons:
- The writer genuinely wants to tell a story about a couple coping with a very uncomfortable and unlikely situation with a possible happy ending concerning a child at the end (or maybe a sad ending, if the child/"mother" doesn't make it). This is rare, to say the least.
- The writer thinks babies are cute and that the apex of every relationship is to have a child to cement twu wub forever.
- The writer wants the child to be the outcome of a sex scene in the fic, and doesn't care how.
- The writer wants the child to inherit any powers that the male parents may have.
- The writer does not think that the characters could ever love an adopted child as much as they would a child of their own flesh and blood, despite many same-sex couples being perfectly happy with the option.
Good MPreg: Possible?
Signs of a good MPreg fic include:
- Explaining why the male is pregnant, and how this could work. Maybe there's technology or magic that can make it happen. Maybe they're part of a species where males do occasionally get pregnant. Maybe there's shape-shifting or genderbending involved, or the male in question is transgender and still has the required uterus and baby-making accessories.
- The story may take place in an AUverse where all male-bodied people can get pregnant, but this requires the usual careful crafting of the AU itself, taking into account what might be different if this crucial gender difference had never existed.
- Making sure that the male(s) in question stay in character. Turning them into one-dimensional stereotypes of a hormonal pregnant person and a fluffy, caring nursemaid is right out.
- Having people react realistically to the problem of the pregnant man. If this takes place in the Real World, for example, most people would assume the man had a tumor or was simply getting fat.
- Where, exactly, does the baby emerge? Clue: the human anus does not work that way. Well-written MPreg will generally avoid the issue with a C-section or else use magical/technological means to provide female anatomy that can serve the purpose.
- If this story doesn't creep or gross most people out (unintentionally), if you read it and don't feel it to be stupid, or if it's really and truly enjoyable, it might just be goodfic.
MPreg and the PPC
Treating Those Afflicted with MPreg
The Department of Sufficiently Advanced Technology has come up with a remedy for canon-breaking MPreg: the Embryo Extraction Kit. Also used to extract uncanonical offspring of female-bodied people, the instrument resembles the de-bugger used in The Matrix, but hooks up to a life-supporting receptacle, depositing the embryo into a friendlier environment than some poor canon character's uncanoncial womb or, Flowers forbid, intestinal tract. Since most MPreg children could never exist in canon, the fetuses are placed under the care of the Nursery until birth, after which they may be adopted by willing agents.
If a fetus has bigger problems than starting its existence in an unusual place, such as impossible genetics or an unnaturally quick gestation, it may need an emergency in-vitro teleportation into an Illogical Incubator before the agents restore canon and the normal laws of biology. These cases are overseen by the Medical Department.
The Division of MPreg
The Department of Bad Slash's Division of MPreg specialize in administering the EEK cure, and Bad Slash agents in general may run across and have to fix MPreg in their own missions.