I love a good hoax

June 18, 2009

Last year, there were reports of a man giving birth to a healthy female child.

image  (Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

Except that the story wasn’t completely true. The man concerned was in fact a transgender person who still retained his/her female reproductive organs.

More interesting were reports of a man, Lee Mingwei who was carrying a child despite having no female organs.

image

This one really was a hoax. Going to the website www.malepregnancy.com leads you to the elaborate world of the fictional RYT Hospital and the Dwayne Medical Centre at the non-existent Dwayne University.

Here you have links to a wonderful selection of medical research marvels – nanotechnology robots which operate within blood and tissue.

image

Genochoice, which enabled prospective parents to create their own genetically healthy child online

Clyven, the mouse engineered with the same intelligence as a human by implanting human brain cells

And of course the pregnant man.

image

This very professionally produced site is full of pseudo-science and appears very credible. Except it is not. It is a wonderfully carried off hoax.

Two questions remains though. Why and who is paying? Unlike the April Fool’s jokes I wrote about in April (when else?) which were advertising stunts, there seems no obvious commercial return for the RYT pages. Perhaps I have become cynical and assume that there must be a financial component for everything on the web. Clearly that is not true. I do this for the fun of it. But the RYT site is so elaborate and clearly a great deal of time went into it. It is reasonable to ask why.  

Incidentally, UK Internet consultant Phil Bradley has a wonderful list of other hoaxes on his website.

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