Should the NHS fund men pregnancy?

Our week has been particularly active, socially. We’ve been out most nights enjoying the lukewarm, if a bit rainy, British autumn (I mean: summer; or do I?). Yesterday we went to the lovely Royal Court Theatre to see Birthday.

At first sight, the plot does not seem very interesting: it is about the troubles of a couple going through the final hours of pregnancy. But the nice twist is that, in the unspecified near future in which the story is set, thanks to some revolutionary medical procedure, man can get pregnant and so it is him (the brilliant Stephen Mangan) that has to deliver the baby.

The jokes are about the role exchange; so he sounds like a whining lady (“I asked you to do one thing, and you forgot to do it!“), while she has the clueless attitude of the man (“I didn’t pack your magazines because I didn’t think we’d be here so long”).

It was interesting that the whole thing was based on alleged cost-effectiveness considerations: the idea is that men would always undergo caesarian section, which means less complications, the opportunity of theoretically plan ahead every delivery and thus leading to fewer costs. Also, because the procedure is supposed to be (relatively) pain free, no cost of drugs and painkillers should occur.

As it turns out, the analysis doesn’t seem to have accounted for a series of more or less serious side effects and/or complications (including elusive surgeons that are constantly busy elsewhere, only to turn up en mass after 10 hours), which all happen to the delivering mother/father. So, at least for this individual (and for some funny reasons in particular for his bottom), the quality of life outcome is really poor.

All in all, I would like to sit in the NICE committee that have to consider this intervention for public funding…

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