PREGNANT MAN< TRUTH OR HOAX.
Is the pregnant man Thomas Beatie a hoax for April Fool's Day? PREGNANT MAN: TRUTH OR HOAX? As the world's media descends on small town Bend to find out if the story of the pregnant man is true, the couple at the centre of it all have left town. Thomas Beatie, 34, and wife Nancy Roberts, 45, are believed to be on vacation in his home state of Hawaii. Back home in Bend, Oregon, population 75,000, the locals are bemused. The ruddy-cheeked residents enjoy ice fishing and kayaking. And until Thomas's five month pregnancy was revealed to a stunned world on Thursday, the biggest local story this week was the deputy sheriff shooting a vicious pit bull terrier. Thomas, born Tracy Lagondino, announced to gay magazine The Advocate, that he was expecting a girl, who was due in July. He said: "I will be my daughter's father and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family." Thomas, who had his breasts removed 10 years ago but kept his ovaries and womb when he became a man, said being pregnant was "incredible". He added: "Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am." Oprah Winfrey is said to have offered the couple a seven figure sum to clinch the first TV interview. But Fox News has smelled a rat. It reported that Thomas will not now speak to reporters until his confidentiality clause ends on Tuesday - April Fool's Day. A British-born neighbour who is looking after Thomas and Nancy's home said: "They've struck a big deal with someone. "When they come back all will be revealed. This is 1,000 per cent true." The Advocate claims Thomas's doctors confirmed that he is expecting after egg and sperm donation. Nancy had a hysterectomy 20 years ago. Relative Rena Keeley added: "I believe it's true. We've been told not to say anything." But next-door neighbour Ron Schlieper says: "I saw him a few days ago and he didn't look like that. "He was walking down the street with who I thought was his wife Nancy and I don't recall seeing a belly. "If that picture was taken a month ago, he would have been much bigger just a few days ago." In a real-life echo of Arnold Schwarzenegger's film Junior, Thomas says he plans to carry on living as a man while his unborn daughter grows inside him. He became pregnant after stopping testosterone injections. His periods started again and he was implanted with donor eggs. Thomas had been expecting twins before but had an ectopic pregnancy and lost the embryos and one of his fallopian tubes. Now the ethics of the couple's situation has sparked debate across America. Some critics claim Thomas's previous use of testosterone could have damaged his unborn child. Obstetrician Lisa Masterson said: "It really is important that he doesn't take any testosterone early on in the pregnancy. "That can cause male-type characteristics in the female baby." And others are concerned about the child's emotional wellbeing. Psychoanalyst Robert Withers says: "There is going to be an extra degree of complication or confusion about 'where am I from?'" But Thomas and Nancy have already jumped many hurdles to get this far. Thomas has said: "The first doctor we approached was a reproductive endocrinologist. He was shocked by our situation and told me to shave my facial hair. "He then required us to see the clinic's psychologist to see if we were fit to bring a child into this world and consulted with the ethics board of his hospital. A few months and a couple thousand dollars later, he told us that he would no longer treat us, saying he and his staff felt uncomfortable working with 'someone like me'." Transgender groups are championing their cause. Lewis Turner, of Press for Change, said: "As a trans man myself I wouldn't ever dream of getting pregnant. "But I think Thomas Beatie identifies himself as male as much as I do and he just wants to reproduce." Thomas, once lesbian Tracy, became a man because Hawaii does not recognise same sex marriages. The couple, who have been together 10 years, moved to Oregon from Hawaii two years ago and relocated their T-shirt business Define Normal. They were well-known gay rights campaigners in Hawaii. Yesterday the couple were in hiding. But Nancy spoke to the local paper in Oahu saying: "Right now, basically I'm trying to have a vacation and we are not talking to anybody." In 2001 the paper interviewed them when they lived with Nancy's children and went on a gay march. Thomas fought for gay couples to be able to adopt and against homophobic attacks. They carried a coffin containing the names of hate crime victims through the streets. Thomas said at the time: "The 1960s movement put an end to racial discrimination. Today we want it to reach out and cover all minorities." The couple said they had had trouble getting decent housing because they were gay and had to pretend to be strangers to get an apartment. Thomas, then Tracy said: "For fear of being refused, we had to apply as legal strangers. "There are over 1,000 legal benefits that married heterosexual couples have but we don't." They wed in Hawaii after Thomas was legally declared a man because, friends said, he desperately loved Nancy. The couple said family and doctors had been unsupportive about the pregnancy. Last night no one was at the home of Thomas's parents in Oahu. Friend Holly Huber hung up on reporters who called her number. Beaten to bump Thomas Beatie isn't the first man to have a baby - fellow American Matt Rice gave birth to son Blake in October 1999. Rice and his partner, both transgender males, decided to become parents by using sperm donors after side effects caused Rice to stop taking testosterone for a few years.