Mpreg

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Male Pregnancy, MPREG, MPreg
Related: kidfic, Pregnancy, Fempreg
See Also: kink, Dominance Hierarchy, Alpha/Beta/Omega
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Mpreg, short for male pregnancy, is a plot device in which men (usually cis men but not always) become pregnant.

While occasionally addressed in very early fanworks in the 1980s, it is a genre that was not generally addressed by fans until the mid-to late-1990s.[1]

In canon, mpreg is often explained by alien biology. Alien Nation and Star Trek: Enterprise both have canonical male pregnancy, Torchwood has a reference to it as well, and in Farscape one of the alien male characters accidentally does much of the gestating of John and Aeryn's child.[2]

Mpreg is also a subgenre of fanfiction, occurring with some frequency in slash and only very rarely in het. The man who gets pregnant is usually human and cisgender, and often the story offers no explanation for the phenomenon, although it may be explained by magic, medical experimentation, or simply the existence of an Alternate Universe where men are commonly pregnant. In some dystopian Mpreg AUs, the role or status of males able to get pregnant may differ markedly from that of impregnating males.

In DC Comics canon Kon-El gets half his genes from Clark Kent and half from Lex Luthor. This leads to some Smallville Clex fic where he is the result of mpreg rather than laboratory experiments. Pinky and the Brain from Animaniacs also have a genetic son together.

A polarizing genre

For non-fans, mpreg, like omegaverse, is an easy topic of derision. Social media and mainstream journalism lights up on the subject, poking fun and claiming outraged amazement.

Mpreg is a rather polarizing genre even within fandom: Whereas some fans really like it, many fans go out of their way to avoid it, and relatively few fans are indifferent to it.

A fan in 2015 wrote about the trope from a wider perspective:
It is just so much easier to mock something than to really engage in it. Like, how easy to point out the mpreg trope and be like, “Look at this crazy thing these crazy people are doing.” But mpreg is a really poignant commentary on how the biological fact that women carry children influences every aspect of female life in society. Tweak it so that men can get pregnant, too, and watch how things change: watch how the men are the ones now struggling with the questions that society so seldom demands of them. It breaks my heart, what so many mpreg fics reveal about how girls feel about their place in society. I mean, in Omegaverse, frequently the pregnancy-bearing gender is literally a prisoner of its reproductive function, lamenting the inability to ever lead a life with full freedom of choice, and, in fact, tasked with limiting exposure to the impregnating gender because, hey, they are not to blame if they’re tempted by the irresistible invitation of a baby-depository in their vicinity. [3]

An anonymous fan submitted this to "Tumblr Fandom Secrets" in 2011:

I am an advocate for reproductive choice. I am an advocate for trans* rights. I embrace the diverse gender spectrum and a person's right to choose how they identify themselves, whether man, woman or neither. [...] I don't understand the grossed out objections to mpreg. I don't know if it's because it's something normally associated with women's bodies, and so deemed gross, or if it's seen as beneath men somehow. I know it's not even close to being physically possible, but neither are werewolves, for goodness sake. What's wrong with imagining a world where your ability to reproduce isn't exclusive or determined by chance? What's wrong with exploring that subversion of a previously extremely one-sided and gendered experience?

I am more disturbed by people's hateful reactions to the very idea of mpreg than mpreg.[4]

As that submission shows, the topic of mpreg intersects with not only sexism but also transgender issues. Many trans fans have written about this at length:

Personally, I’m okay with it

I’m actually less okay with it–although it still falls under “cis writers use caution,” not “NEVER EVER”–if the pregnant character is a trans man. Depicting a trans man as pregnant isn’t necessarily feminizing or genitalia-obsessing or intrusively gawking at transness, but it can easily tip that way.

Whereas mpreg with cis male characters is (to me) just one of those odd but harmless fetishes like people who really want to be eaten by a dragon’s vagina. I don’t totally understand what people get out of it, but it’s not wrong. Fantasy’s a weird place, and I’m glad for that, considering what my own corners of it are like.[5]
1. Trans men are being ignored in favour of cis men, despite the cis men characters embodying traits of trans men in order to create/progress a certain narrative. This is textbook fetishization.

2. Mpreg, as a category, is the fetishization of trans men’s bodies to primarily pursue male pregnancy above all else (often involving plenty of smut), more often than not ignoring any and all trans experiences that either don’t fit the narrative they want to tell, or are too ‘difficult’ or ‘scary’ for the writers to write. This is deeply fetishistic in a world where there’s next to no representation of trans men that doesn’t include the fetishization of their bodies and the sexual use of them in ways befitting the cis gaze and standard dehumanization.

So essentially, cis men are used instead of trans men, which is fetishistic, but even when trans men are used, it’s nearly always fetishistic in how the characters and narrative are handled. [...] In reality, mpreg doesn’t explicitly claim to be related to trans (or intersex) people, but it cannot be viewed outside of that context in a world where trans and intersex people are also displaced from our bodies and our realities by cis dyadic people, in a world where our body parts are literally objectified and fetishized and removed from our humanity. I literally don’t give a crap what anyone’s intent is, that’s the reality of it, that’s representation that harms trans and intersex people, and if people fail to realize that, then they’re harming trans and intersex people, categorically.[6]
the reason i get so discoursey about mpreg is not solely about the kink itself or the various tropes for it. it stems from the fact that this kink and these associated elements like a/b/o are largely created and supported by cis people. what do you think this looks like to us? that you would rather use convoluted psuedoscience to wave away biological impossibilities with cismpreg, just so you can have dudes with dicks? that you would rather pass off things like anal live birth as normal in your creative works, rather than make a character a transman, which wouldn’t alter the character in any other way other than their genitalia? it holds up cissexist values that only further alienate and offend transmasculine fans of this kink, including myself and others. as well as any other transmasc people who have to see cismpreg art and be reminded that the majority of cis sentiments is that penis = male, and in order for it to be ‘male pregnancy’ a guy has to have a dick even though thats entirely biologically bogus. its hurtful. its insulting to some of us who are trying to normalize our bodies and use interests like this as coping mechanisms, creative expression, and of course, good wholesome jerk-off material that we can actually relate to

if you’re cis and you enjoy this interest, please be mindful of how you enjoy it, and what you enjoy about it. be proactive about your interest in kinks! look into exactly what you appreciate about something, and what a specific notion of it truly means to you if you are legitimately upset that people tell you its offensive to you! by being apathetic in your consumption of porn, you are adding to the notion that all porn is inherently toxic, and all kinks like mpreg are inherently transphobic. if you enjoy my art, you should know that i do not want you to enjoy it as an apathetic consumer. i draw these things for me and people like me, for those of us who want porn that doesn’t play into cissexism[7]

Fempreg

Fempreg refers not to all stories in which women are pregnant, but to stories in which conception is due to f/f sex. It is almost vanishingly rare and would probably not have a name if it were not for mpreg's popularity. Xena: Warrior Princess has a rare example of canonical fempreg with Callisto's ghost impregnating Xena.

Another example of canonical fempreg occurs in Kotobuki Tarako's mostly mpreg-filled manga Sex Pistols (published in English language as Love Pistols). Madarame Makio, a female character, has given birth to two sons by two different fathers and has also 'fathered' two more sons with her female partner Tokashiki Karen.

Examples of Mpreg in Fanworks

Some of the Earliest Examples

  • The Third Alternative by Billie McIver, a 1983 Star Trek: TOS story in which Kirk wants to have a child so he talks Spock into letting McCoy do the procedure that will allow Kirk to carry one. This fanwork appears in The Voice #2.

Stories

Life from the Ashes -- early, long, OTT X-Files AU with Mulder mutated to have sex in his belly-button and frequently pregnant. (Written in 2000.)

Misconceptions[8] by Diana Williams -- early, long (60 parts) Highlander AU with Methos becoming pregnant. As Immortals are normally incapable of bearing children, a lot of stories in the fandom tried to figure out ways to give the Immortals children. Sometimes a threesome was required, sometimes the Immortal had to be over several thousand years old, and sometimes...well, things happened. (Started sometime in 2001.)

The Seahorse story: Clutch, Incubate, Hatch, and Nest by Betty Plotnick, a popslash series where Justin Timberlake gets knocked up and lays eggs. (2003)

MPREG by Rhys -- a popslash story where men-who-have-children are a group even more unusual than overpaid popstars. (Trickyfish, 2004)

Practicing the Same Religion by Geoviki. Mpreg is a common Harry Potter trope. "Classic Harry/Draco Mpreg. It's the fic that everyone says, 'I don't usually like/read Mpreg BUT… loved this story!'"[9] (2005)

I Put a Spell on You (Because You're Mine) a Supernatural story by estrella30. She describes it as "schmoopy mpreg-wingfic-incest fic", or in other words, a deliberate attempt to write crackfic and still make people like it. (2006)

Bric-a-brac series by Lenore -- a surprisingly popular SGA series that may have made mpreg more respectable to fans.

Roo'verse by Tzzzz, an SGA mpreg which is unusual in that the biology of the men being able to become pregnant (a subtype of humans attributed to Ancient experimentation) is that of a marsupial, so the pregnancy does not resemble a regular human pregnancy. [10] (2009)

Side Effects by Jane Elliot. SGA story in which, in a relatively rare plot-turn[11], the pregnant man chooses to terminate the pregnancy. (2008)

Surrogate by Seekergeek. SGA story in which John chooses to use a device to become pregnant with Rodney's child because Rodney can't otherwise have a child like he wanted. (2009)

There has been a resurgence of mpreg stories in Star Trek reboot fandom, with the LJ kirkspock community, alone, recording over 30 stories[12] featuring this trope in the year following the release of the movie. It is likely to be the setting that has caused this upswing in popularity, with a number of writers explaining away the process as either alien biology, or through the use of futuristic technology and medicine.[13] [14]

Mpreg is not an uncommon trope in Naruto fandom, aided in part by the existence in canon of jutsu such as Naruto's Sexy no Jutsu. Some examples from the KakaIru pairing include: megyal's A Measure of Company (with fanart by jofelly), Kita the Spaz's Mission's Gift, and Side Effects, an early example from ChibiRisu-chan.

There are a number of mpreg fanworks featuring Loki of Marvel Cinematic Universe, as in Norse mythology Loki canonically gave birth to a horse, and in comics canon took a female body for a time.

Vids

Art

Meta/Further Reading

2001

  • Sexy Pregnant Men?, posted in 2001, "Even if it's tongue in cheek, and even if it's intended to be parody, it's still just so out there that I can't grasp it."

2005

2009

2011

2012

2014

Resources

References

  1. oral history interviews -- Escapade 2012 -- need more advanced citation.
  2. For further examples of Mpreg in books, movies, television and mythology, see Alchemia's Mainstream MPreg List, 13 June 2008. (Accessed 09 November 2008)
  3. If You Want to Talk About Something Weird, Let's Talk About Geoducks, Not Fanfiction, by Earl Grey Tea
  4. Tumblr Fandom Secrets, Sept 17 2011
  5. Anonymous asked: What are your thoughts on the subject of mpreg in art and fiction?, Cliff Pervocracy, April 6 2016
  6. noire-atome asked: Genuine question : what's wrong about mpreg ?, 2016
  7. discourse levels: reaching critical mass, Lewdcore/Roman, Sept 9 2015
  8. Diana Williams. Misconceptions
  9. crack_broom: Harry/Draco -Practicing the Same Religion by geoviki (accessed 15 July 2013)
  10. Tzzzz. Roo'verse (accessed 15 Dec 2009)
  11. Mpreg#Mpreg_Meta
  12. mpreg trope tag for stories posted to the LJ kirkspock community
  13. Unexpected by ceres_libera (following genderswap from alien intervention) Kirk/McCoy
  14. After It All by slash4femme (genetics, test tube baby + artificial womb) Spock!Prime/McCoy