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Artificial Wombs: bold, controversial science coming soon


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Cutting-edge research in the U.S. and Japan will soon launch a new era in human procreation: a world in which embryos can be “brought to term” in artificial wombs, eliminating traditional pregnancies.


Cornell University’s Dr. Hung Chiung Liu has engineered endometrial tissues by prompting cells to grow in an artificial uterus. When Liu introduced a mouse embryo into the lab-created uterine lining, “It successfully implanted and grew healthy”, she said in a New Atlantis magazine interview. Liu thinks her team could develop an animal womb in 5 years, and a human model within 10.


In another experiment, Tokyo researcher Yosinori Kuwabara and colleagues kept goat fetuses growing for 10 days by connecting umbilical cords to machines that pump in blood, oxygen and nutrients, and dispose waste. While this womb is only a prototype, Kuwabara predicts that a fully functioning artificial womb capable of gestating a human fetus could evolve by 2010.


Experts believe artificial wombs will one day supplant natural ones – conception will become clinical; birth, bloodless. Gestation would be detached from motherhood, and the fetus would always be viable the instant sperm and egg fused.


Artificial wombs are the kind of technological prospect ethicists love to ponder. Philosopher Peter Singer claims “women will be helped, rather than harmed, by a technology that makes it possible to have children without being pregnant”. Feminist Shulamith Firestone agrees. “Once women break free from the tyranny of their reproductive biology, they could achieve full equality with men”.


Proponents believe artificial wombs will help women who have suffered miscarriages and hysterectomies; and couples who cannot conceive by themselves and do not wish to hire a surrogate, but still want their own baby.


Concerns over losing emotional connection between mother and newborn are unwarranted, says ethicist Roger Dworkin. Researchers predict that computerized programming with parent emotions and personalities will simulate human care and feelings 24/7 to insure perfect development of children in artificial wombs.


However, North Carolina ethicist Rosemarie Tong disagrees, arguing that this science could lead to viewing children as “things”. The further we erode the mystery of how human life develops, she says, the more appealing it becomes to improve technology and demand greater control.


In the near term, experts say, most women will probably gestate their children the old-fashioned way, but career-minded females may welcome a new concept that enables them to raise a family without enduring the pregnancy that often weakens their job status.


Ultimately, this technology could enable anyone; single, married, male, female, young, old, heterosexual or gay, to combine DNA from their own body with a selected third party, and voila; the gene pool marches on – and no morning sickness or other negative side-effects.


In an unusual twist, this revolutionary science offers justification to pro-lifers in the abortion debates. Choosing an abortion to protect a mother’s health would no longer be necessary. Artificial wombs could bring all aborted embryos to term, thus saving countless lives.


Some see the artificial womb as a triumph of modern science – others see it as the ultimate human folly. Only time will tell which of these views are correct, as we get ready to enjoy this awe-inspiring and incredible “magical future”.

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So much of what happens inside the womb is as of yet not understood. The mother's body goes through radical hormonal changes, most of which (I think all, but I'm not sure) are experianced by the child. A fetus is able to hear it's mother's heartbeat, and hear, very muddied, it's mother's voice. We don't know how this fully affects a fetus becaues every person has always had it. I think that it could be a good idea for some people, but I don't think it will ever supplant the natural way.

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One day, according to most forward-thinking futurists, all of humanity’s mysteries will become unraveled.


According to best-selling author and entrepreneur, Ray Kurzweil, “Computers will pass the Turing Test by 2029, and by 2040s our civilization will be billions of times more intelligent”.


It would appear something as miraculous as creating and “formatting” a new human will be fully understood in the future.


Cornell researcher Dr. Hung Chiung Liu believes that by as early as 2015, scientists will be capable of providing computerized programming with emotions and personalities that would completely simulate human parents’ influence on their developing baby brought to term in an artificial womb.


Driven by convenience to some women and profits for developers, this technology will march forward. As the article says, initially, most women will choose the old fashioned way of gestating their baby, but as we enter into our “magical future”, who knows where it will take us?

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Yes, I have posted on BetterHumans, MySpace 4Ever Young, and several other sites.


I think nearly everyone would reject raising babies in artificial wombs today, but in ten, twenty, thirty years or more; things may radically change.


When we reach the state where artificial wombs becomes superior to "old fashioned" ways of gestation, I think everyone will embrace this new technology.

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I'm Biohazard without the dash on betterhumans. I guess I'll give a more real response then.


Well, a probability exists this will come; however, not as fast.


We have to look at the immorality of women in this type of situation.

Women are psychologically known to be more moral than men. This was the view held in past centuries. Unfortunately, women did have some moral problems when it came to abortion. Many women used a hanger and other gruesome methods to try and have an abortion.


Fast forward into the 1900s+ when women could go to a medical doctor and have an abortion without shame. Shame exists in the form after the abortion giving many women psychological ideas that they killed someone.


Women still have a moral psychological side of right and wrong despite religious status; however, pagans are more likely to support abortion than Christians.


When women and men begin to agree on abortion, then abortion becomes common and the killing of something that has not breathed the life of the world becomes a common event.


Many people still do not believe in abortion, even though it still occurs.


Here's where the psychological attribute of women come back into the situation along with social psychology.


If women start supporting this method of birth and start using it, the method will become more common as abortion.


This is social psychology in action: Everybody's doing it.


The individual psychology of women becomes greatly questionable with this type of situation. Will a woman choose to have a baby born in a test-tube instead of her womb to avoid the pain and suffering?


More importantly, is there a moral side to this?


Something moral exists with killing something... but not giving life?


Only in the 1900s and late 1800s did people start thinking about giving life as a bioethical concern: Frakenstein and then frankenfood (genetically modified organisms).


The only moral idea that can come from this is playing god. This is the playing god factor: when Man decides to go against the way of natures and create artificial environments for society and individuals.


If this were to be socially accepted, then the world as we know it would become more and more artificial.




In the end, this will become a religious war, or maybe not. When people reject God, then they will reject playing God. In other words, the quote, the saying, the idea of "playing god" will fade away.


If you think about it, this saying fades away more and more as time progresses in this 21st century. The reasons I said it may not become a religious war is because of the social psychology and progressive religious ideas intertwining and contradicting.


When people accept something and don't think about it as playing god, then they will play god.


I don't think we have to worry about corportations; I think we have to worry about the media, people, and the women.


I'm not ultimately worried about people seing children as things. I'm more worried about the hubris of society overwhelming itself into destruction.


With the good comes the bad.

Of course, I'll destroy the world first. *blows it up* BWAHAHAHAH!

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Quick questions:

What is morality?

Where is your evidence that women have "more of it?"


Also, what you describe as social psychology has more to do with modelling behavior as put forth by Albert Bandura. It is a "social" learning theory, but not really social pschology (which is the act of studying people and their behavior in groups).



Really, I just want you to clarify your statement about morals being somehow gender specific.



Cheers. :friday:

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Morality is conforming to the old beliefs of "good and evil".

This is the stereotypical good and wrong type thing set forth by religions.


I can't remember off hand about the 1800s view of women. In the U.S. during the 1800s many women set forth on moral crusades to reform America. I belive during this time period, many people believed women were more moral than men. Also, counting in the idea of chivalry and respect.


A psychological study was done about a guy who needed a medicine for his sick wife. A person made a medicine for the disease, but the guy could not afford it.


Studies have shown that women in this type of situation would try to find a way for all parties to be happy by working things out. AKA not stealing.


Most men would have an "immoral" reply.

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I am familiar with the question to which you refer in the study about sick kid, no money, do you or don't you steal the meds... But it's not all that clear to me that, even though women may have come up with alternate solutions than men, this makes them any more or less moral. And people's belief about the morality being framed with some gender specificity does not mean that it is the case.


Really, morality is a tough concept to adequately define. In fact, a few threads here on Hypo have attempted it, but it's not some concept you can just say is one thing. It means something different to each of us, and to imply that women, by the fact that they have two X chromosomes instead of an XY mix, are more moral is downright wrong. That's might point.


Anyway... this thread is about artificial wombs in the future. Morality has it's own threads.

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Most current futurists’ writings foretell a time in the not-to-distant future, 30-40 years or so, when humanity will completely merge with its machines.


I support this view and can accept the prospect of living in a more powerful body with increased intelligence capabilities.


Future humans – circa 2040-2050 – will not concern themselves with health issues or face unwanted death. Advanced nanotech even promises an environment that conceivably could support 100 billion or more people.


As we trek through the last half of this century, we could evolve into a remarkable civilization getting ready to scatter our populations to the stars – even wander through time.


There are many possibilities for a better life in the future. Will artificial wombs contribute to this better life? Scientists see this technology as life saving for some “preemies” and unwanted embryos destroyed through abortion.


We will just have to wait and see.

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There are many possibilities for a better life in the future. Will artificial wombs contribute to this better life? Scientists see this technology as life saving for some “preemies” and unwanted embryos destroyed through abortion.

We will just have to wait and see.

Sounds interesting. The biggest problem I have with natural gestation is that is takes so long to have the number of kids you want. If it takes you until age 27 to establish a stable relationship and you start having kids spaced at say 2 years apart then all it takes is a miscarriage of some financial trouble and you end up with two kids and a mother that getting to old. I predict that cultures that embrace artificial gestation will leave natural gestation far behind.
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I don't hold much stock in futurists. Just watch any weather report. I nee dto follow this with my own intuition as my guide. I am skeptical that we will perfect the technology of gestating humans. And if we do, the litigation and legal issues surrounding it would be so formidable that it will not come to light in a cost model that is feasable.



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Development of artificial wombs drives forward because of the promise it holds for saving lives.


Many premature births do not survive when placed in today’s crude incubator systems; and think of all the embryos discarded from abortions that end up in death. Artificial wombs would enable placing these unwanted embryos up for adoption – more lives saved.


This new technology will save lives – and should some utilize its convenience to escape time consuming pregnancies, most people would not see this as wrong.

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