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We may someday raise babies outside the womb, but there are many things to look at first



<div data-thumb = "https://scx1.b-cdn.net/csz/news/tmb/2019/wemayonedayg.jpg" data-src = "https://scx2.b-cdn.net /gfx/news/hires/2019/wemayonedayg.jpg "data-sub-html =" Researchers develop artificial wombs as we speak. So we have to talk about the pros and cons before science fiction becomes reality. Credit: by www.shutterstock.com ">

  We may someday raise babies outside the womb, but there are many things to look at first.
Researchers develop artificial wombs as we speak. So we have to talk about the pros and cons before science fiction becomes a reality. Credit: from www.shutterstock.com

The idea of ​​raising babies outside the body has inspired novels and movies for decades.

Now, research groups around the world are exploring the possibility of an artificial pregnancy. For example, one group successfully breeds a lamb in an artificial womb for four weeks. Australian researchers are also experimenting with an artificial pregnancy for lambs and sharks.

In recent weeks, researchers in the Netherlands have received € 2.9 million ($ 4.66 million) to develop a prototype for gestation of premature infants.

Therefore, it is important to consider some ethical issues that this technology may bring. [1

9659006] What is an artificial womb?

Raising a baby outside the womb is known as ectogenesis (or exogenesis). And we are already using a form of it. When premature babies are transferred to humidicribes to continue development in the neonatal unit, this is partial ectogenesis.

But an artificial womb can extend the period during which the fetus can be gestational outside the body. In the end, we can manage to remove the human womb.

This may sound a long way off, but many scientists working in the field of reproductive biotechnology believe that with the necessary scientific and legal support, complete ectogenesis is a real opportunity for the future.

What would an artificial womb contain?

An artificial womb will need an external sheath or chamber. This is somewhere to implant the embryo and protect it as it grows. So far, animal experiments have used acrylic tanks, plastic bags and uterine tissues removed from the body and kept alive artificially.

<div data-thumb = "https://scx1.b-cdn.net/csz/news/ tmb / 2019/1-wemayonedayg.jpg" data-src = "https: //scx2.b-cdn .net / gfx / news / 2019/1-wemayonedayg.jpg "data-sub-html =" When premature babies are transferred to humidicribs to continue their development in the neonatal unit, this is partial ectogenesis. Credit: from www.shutterstock.com ">

  We may someday raise babies outside the womb, but there are many things to consider first.
When premature babies are transferred to a moisturizer to continue their development in the neonatal unit, this is partial ectogenesis. Credit: from www.shutterstock.com

The artificial womb will also need a synthetic amniotic fluid replacement, a shock absorber in the womb during natural pregnancy.

Finally, there should be a way to exchange oxygen and nutrients (so oxygen and nutrients in, carbon dioxide, and waste products out). In other words, researchers will have to build an artificial placenta.

Complex catheter and pump systems were used in animal experiments. But there are plans to use a mini version of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a technique that allows oxidation of blood outside the body.

Once they are in place, artificial pregnancy can one day become as common as today is IVF, a technique considered revolutionary decades ago.

And just like in the case of IVF, there are many who are concerned about what this new field of reproductive medicine might mean for the future of family formation.

And what are some of the ethical considerations? [19659006] Artificial wombs can help premature babies

The main discussion about artificial wombs has focused on their potential benefit for increasing the survival rate of extremely premature babies.

Currently, 22-week-olds have almost no hope of surviving. And those born at 23 weeks are likely to suffer a number of injuries.

The use of a sealed "biobag" that mimics a mother's womb can help extremely preterm infants survive and improve their quality of life.

The premature lambs survived four weeks in a "biobag" at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Credit: Tech Insider / YouTube

The biobag provides oxygen, a type of amniotic fluid replacement, access to the umbilical cord and all necessary water and nutrients (and medicines, if needed). This could potentially allow the gestation period to extend beyond the womb until the baby has developed enough to live independently and with good health prospects.

The artificial womb can provide an optimal environment for the growth of the fetus, providing it with an appropriate balance of hormones and nutrients. Furthermore, exposure of the growing fetus to external damage such as infectious diseases would be avoided.

Technology may also facilitate fetal surgery if necessary.

And can see the end of a long hospital stay for premature babies, saving health care dollars in the process. This is particularly remarkable given that some of the largest private insurance payments are currently at the cost of intensive care for newborns.

Artificial wombs can help with infertility and fertility

This emerging reproductive technology can allow women who are infertile for physiological or social reasons to have a chance to have a baby. It may also offer opportunities for transgender women and other women born without a uterus, or those who have lost their uterus due to cancer, injury or medical conditions, to have children.

Similarly, it could allow single men and gay male couples to become parents without the need for a surrogate.

Will this lead to a wider discussion on gender roles and equality in reproduction? Will it eliminate the potential risks and expectations of pregnancy and childbirth that currently affect only women? Will this eliminate trade surrogacy?

In addition, artificial womb can help fertile women who, for health or personal reasons, choose not to be pregnant. This would allow those whose career choices, medicines, or lifestyles could otherwise expose the developing fetus to malformation or abnormality.

Artificial wombs can harm women, increase inequality and lead to discrimination

  We may someday raise babies outside the womb, but there are many things that we need to look at first.
Artificial wombs can allow gay men to become parents without the need for a surrogate. Credit: www.shutterstock.com

The prospect of artificial bowels may offer hope for many, but it also highlights a number of potential dangers.

For some women, using an artificial womb for gestation may seem like a welcome alternative to ending a pregnancy. But there are fears that other women who are considering abortion may be forced to use an artificial womb to continue their pregnancy.

Whether the artificial womb should be allowed to influence the right to choose a woman is already under discussion.

Artificial wombs can also further widen the gap between rich and poor. Wealthy expectant parents may choose to pay for artificial womb, while poorer people will rely on women's bodies to gestate to their babies. Existing differences in nutrition and exposure to pathogens between pregnancies across socioeconomic divisions may also be exacerbated

This raises questions about access distribution. Will artificial funding get state funding? If so, who should decide who gets subsidized access? Will there be a threshold for compliance?

Other issues relate to potential discrimination against persons born through an artificial womb. How can we prevent discrimination or invasive publicity and ensure that stories about people's origins are not subject to negative public curiosity or ridicule?

Others may consider the artificial womb to be deeply disgusting and at the root of the natural reproductive order.

Preparation for future womb

There is currently no prototype of artificial womb for humans. And technology is very much in its infancy. However, we need to look at the ethical and legal issues before we head into this reproductive technology.

Not only do we have to ensure that technology is safe and working, we have to consider whether it is the right path for different circumstances.

  We may someday raise babies outside the womb, but there are many things that must be considered first.
Artificial wombs can further widen the difference between rich and poor. Credit: www.shutterstock.com

It may be easier to protect yourself by using artificial bowels in emergencies, such as saving the lives of extremely preterm infants. However, their use in other circumstances may require broader social and political considerations

Without first establishing clear regulatory and ethical legal frameworks, the development and release of artificial bowels can be problematic. We need to clearly outline the rights to terminate pregnancy, parenting and custody issues, restrictions on experimentation and other issues before the technology is fully implemented and available. We must do this soon, not allow the law to lag behind science.

We recommend:

  • approved protocols for artificial womb testing, which gradually extend the gestation period
  • to funding that prevents discrimination on socio-economic grounds. This can take the form of government funding to provide a broad range of groups with access to technology
  • clear legal guidance on the status of ectogenic embryos and fruits, including what happens if future parents die, divorce or they do not agree on how to pursue
  • access guidelines that allay public fears of abuse of emerging reproductive technologies.

It is easy to get carried away with visions of utopian or dystopian societies. As radical and futuristic as the artificial womb sounds, it is important to pause and reflect on the present.

Although this technology may solve some existing problems related to inequality in reproduction, there are many other problems that require our immediate attention.

Improving maternal health services, equal opportunities in the workplace and reducing the impact of poor social determinants of fetal health are all pressing problems that must be addressed now before we can look at what the future of reproductive biotechnology.


In the US, the first baby is born from a dead donor's transplanted womb


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