Artificial wombs: The coming era of motherless births?

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2012-02-23-artificial-womb

Scientifically, it’s called ectogenesis, a term coined by J.B.S. Haldane in 1924. A hugely influential science popularizer, Haldane did for his generation what Carl Sagan did later in the century. He got people thinking and talking about the implications of science and technology on our civilization, and did not shy away from inventing new words in order to do so. Describing ectogenesis as pregnancy occurring in an artificial environment, from fertilization to birth, Haldane predicted that by 2074 this would account for more than 70 percent of human births.

His prediction may yet be on target.

In discussing the idea in his work Daedalus–a reference to the inventor in Greek mythology who, through his inventions, strived to bring humans to the level of the gods–Haldane was diving into issues of his time, namely eugenics and the first widespread debates over contraception and population control.

Whether Haldane’s view will prove correct about the specific timing of when ectogenesis might become popular, or the numbers of children born that way, it’s certain that he was correct that tAt the same time, he was right that the societal implications are sure to be significant as the age of motherless birth approaches. They will not be the same societal implications that were highlighted in Daedalus, however. 

Technology developing in increments

Where are we on the road to ectogenesis right now? To begin, progress has definitely been rapid over the last 20-30 years. In the mid 1990s, Japanese investigators succeeded in maintaining goat fetuses for weeks in a machine containing artificial amniotic fluid. At the same time, the recent decades have seen rapid advancement in neonatal intensive care that is pushing back the minimum gestational age from which human fetuses can be kept alive. Today, it is possible for a preterm fetus to survive when removed from the mother at a gestational age of slightly less than 22 weeks. That’s only a little more than halfway through the pregnancy (normally 40 weeks). And while rescuing an infant delivered at such an early point requires sophisticated, expensive equipment and care, the capability continues to increase.

A comprehensive review published by the New York Academy of Sciences three years ago highlights a series of achievements by various research groups using ex vivo (out of the body) uterus environments to support mammalian fetuses early in pregnancy. Essentially, two areas of biotechnology are developing rapidly that potentially can enable ectogenesis in humans, and, along the way, what the authors of the Academy review call partial ectogenesis.

Because a fetus develops substantially with respect to external form and internal organs during the second half of pregnancy, our current capability to deliver and maintain preterm infants actually is a kind of partial ectogenesis. Supported by all of the equipment in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), a premature infant continues its development as a normal fetus of the same gestational age would do inside the mother’s uterus, but with one important exception. Inside the womb, oxygenated, nourished blood comes in, and blood carrying waste goes out, through the placenta and umbilical cord. Once delivered, however, a preemie must breathe through its lungs, cleanse the blood with its liver and kidneys, and get nutrition through its gastrointestinal tract.

But because these organ systems, especially the lungs, are not really ready to do their job so early, there is a limit to how early a developing fetus can be transferred from womb to NICU. Known as viability, the limit definitely has been pushed back with special treatments given to the mother prior to delivery and, just after birth, directly into the preemie’s lungs, and with intensive support. But the 22 week gestational age may be around the absolute limit for survival for a fetus that will have to depend on lung-breathing, not to mention other organs, rather than its mother’s nourished blood.

Still, the capability to push back the limit is around the corner. One of the two developing key technologies is the artificial amniotic fluid filled environment that has continued to develop with laboratory animal models since the work with goats in the 1990s. The other area is embryo transfer. Not only can a developing mammal be transferred from the uterus of its own mother to that of a surrogate, but gradually investigators are reproducing the endometrium–the cell layer of the uterus that contains and nourishes the pregnancy–as a cell culture, or an in vitro model. The convergence of these technologies will make it possible to transfer a developing human into a system that includes the placenta and umbilical cord and supplies all consumables (oxygen and food), and removes all waste, directly through the blood.

Thus, survival and continuing development would not depend on the lungs and other organs being ready yet to do their job. Applying such a system to fetus delivered in the middle of pregnancy would constitute real partial ectogenesis. Furthermore, since bypassing the developing, not fully functional organs, stands to improve survival substantially, and might even decrease the costs of extreme premature birth, the movement of the technology from research to clinic is inevitable.

Once that happens, there will be no obstacle against pushing the limit further, toward full ectogenesis. But there will be no obstacle to pushing the limit akin to how lung viability has placed an obstacle to conventional pre-term care. At some point, an in vitro fertilized egg could be planted directly into the artificial womb, with no need for a natural uterus even for the early stages.

Societal implications

An artificial womb may sound futuristic, and in Haldane’s time this may have supported a perception that realizing the technology would go together with controlling the birth rate and eugenics controlling which humans come to life, and thus which genetic traits get passed down to future populations. But today, we could do these things without ectogenesis. We have plenty of contraceptive methods and can sterilize people, or make them more fertile, while pregnancies can be induced with implanted embryos made with in vitro fertilization.

If anyone is working on a eugenics program at present, they can use surrogate mothers and don’t really require an artificial uterus–unless, we imagine a society that routinely, forcefully sterilizes all females, so that whoever has the artificial uterus has a monopoly on reproduction, ectogenesis does not relate particularly to those 1920s issues. Instead, the artificial uterus would simply move the pregnancy outside of the woman’s body. When considering societal consequences, that’s the main factor that we need to keep in mind, and doing so we see that it does relate to many currently controversial issues.

Considering abortion, for instance, while the proposition that a fetus, even an embryo, is a person with a “right to life” is a religious belief that cannot be imposed on everyone else, the main argument for the right to choose is a woman’s right to control her body. If a developing embryo or fetus is not viable and the mother wants it out of her uterus, that’s her right.

But what happens once we have the technology to remove it from her without killing it and let the pregnancy continue in an artificial womb? Already, with NICU technology pushing back the survival limit, the timing of viability affecting the legality of abortion, has been challenged by abortion foes. The prospect of ectogenesis stands to turn the viability issue on its face, and it will be interesting to see where that leads.

While social conservatives might be receptive about what an artificial uterus might do to the abortion paradigm, make no mistake they’d probably not be happy that the technology also stands to make it much easier for male gay couples to have babies. All they’d need is an egg donor; no more need for a surrogate mother to take the embryo into her uterus and carry it for 40 weeks. That’s easier for any gay couple in terms of practicality, waiting periods, and money. The same thing goes for a transgender person wishing to have a child.

Finally, because of the sheer numbers, the artificial uterus could have major implications for heterosexual women with fully functional uteri. Many who want children of their own might prefer to forego pregnancy yet would hesitate to hire a human surrogate. Not only is it expensive, but the surrogate could grow fond of the fetus she’s carrying, so why bother taking the risk?

On the other hand, the mind set could be quite different if the surrogate were a high tech jar. It’s your baby with no worries about competing mothers. I’m not suggesting that all potential mothers would opt for this, but Haldane’s guess might not be so unrealistic in that it might end up being a substantial fraction of the population.

David Warmflash is an astrobiologist, physician and science writer. Follow @CosmicEvolution to read what he is saying on Twitter.

  • thefermiparadox

    Can’t wait for this to happen. Will one day be as normal as test tube babies. Just a matter of time and for the good. I only wonder how women will feel with the the connection they feel with a baby in them. It’s such an evolutionary lower animal instinct.

    • doramin

      In “Logan’s Run” (the original novel) all humans were conceived of natural parents but gestated in artificial wombs and raised by nannybots and robo-tutors.

    • Vanai

      Adoptive parents are capable and loving; this will be no different.

  • John Smith

    What a wonderful day it will be when it is possible to have a child without the need for a woman !! No divorce,no custody battles, no social engineering (the emasculation of young boys). Women will become obsolete and the world will be a better place for it ! Can’t wait for this to happen ! I wonder, with this technology, would it be possible to choose what sex the child will be ?If so, even better ! MGTOW men could raise a son(if they choose) the way THEY WANT TO RAISE THEM,Today’s status quo is any argument to the feminist agenda (social engineering) results in false accusations and jail time for the father.This technology would eliminate all that.

    • Addimon

      I’m assuming that the article had too big words for you to understand. Let me summarize it for you (that means tell you what it was about); we don’t need to grow embryos (that’s a fetus) in the woman’s womb anymore (that’s the area where babies grow in a woman’s body).

      • drake green

        *clears throat* NO.NO NO NO NO NO YOU FOOL ONLY GOD CAN CREATE LIFE IF WE TRY WE ARE GOING TO MAKE HELPLESS EMOTIONLESS CHILDREN THAT ARE RIPPED APART FROM THE NATURAL ORDER OF EARTH CHILDREN NEED TO BE NATURAL *walks off wondering why the earth is inhabited by complete idiots

    • lauravel

      Lol…it sounds like extreme sarcasm to me.

      • lauravel

        …or someone who’s bitter cause he’s going through a divorce/custody battle.

    • H

      says right in the article that you would still need an egg. As far as I know you still need women for that. It’d be much easier to eliminate men by taking RNA/DNA from one egg and using it to fertilize another (making a clone). You can’t just take sperm and make a person. But who on earth would want to do away with one gender or the other? Only someone that bitter and angry.

      • So we can have egg banks that commoditize the female contribution to reproduction 😛

        • Emilio Lizardo

          No, we’ll have bio printers to make eggs, or even a viable zygote.

      • John Smith

        If you knew how women and feminists have affected the laws in this country , making it a dangerous place for men, you would want to eliminate women too.

        • Evana Schmidt

          Since I have a son and started to see things from a male prospective I do understand what you mean to a certain degree…

        • martina

          How the he’ll do you think you got here ASSHOLE!

          • John Smith

            I got here due to the generosity of a man who was willing to give a woman a child.That’s how. BITCH !

          • Immortal 1

            No you are only here because your MOTHER (a woman!) decided NOT to kill you by ending your life with abortion. She carried you inside HER female body from conception until SHE gave birth to you. So respect & love your MOM for that & be grateful. Tell her thank you every day & stop being a woman-hating DICK you ignorant asshole.

          • John Smith

            She wouldn’t have had the choice to abort if a man didn’t give her the seed. I DO love my mother, but I HATE FEMINISTS.Feminists are responsible for the emasculation and feminising of young boys. This is also the reason why fucktards like you put women on a pedestal and think they can do no wrong. Feminist mothers are the ones responsible for all the princesses, white knights, and manginas of the world, creating a gynocentric country. You obviously DON’T KNOW A FUCKING THING about how this country operates. Then these white knights, manginas and princesses sometimes grow up to be influential people like lawmakers creating gynocentric ( that means woman-centered to idiots like you) laws. These laws are then used as a weapon by women
            on a whim whenever a man disagrees with them. This is why I say an artificial womb would benefit men b/c they could raise a child without the presence of a woman. THERE ! YOU’VE JUST BEEN SCHOOLED ASSHOLE !!

          • John B.

            The problem is that you are right about these issues, but your delivery is uncouth. In order to effectively spread your message, a more tactful approach is required.

          • John Smith

            Well I get that way when people talk to me the way that person did. Call me crazy.

          • Grace Pearce

            Not all the woman are feminist, “forever Alone”.

          • John Smith

            Forever alone ? WTF is that supposed to mean ? You know nothing about me ! Also, no not all women are feminists, but most women do agree with the feminist agenda which I have described in an earlier comment.

          • Klas Wullt

            NO. rational people should never speak emotion and stupidity.
            We must stop these soft approached it makes people stupid.

          • Neo Theh Vallen

            Klas, women are becoming obselete. They aren’t needed. This Artificial Womb will only make the process faster. Do you think this is good ? No women ?

          • adioAmigo789

            Am I supposed to be thankful that my mother didn’t murder me? Maybe I should be thankful to the police for not shooting me. And thankful to Isis for not sending a terrorist to kill me.

          • qqqqq

            Calm your Fucking tits immoral bitch

          • Judy

            LMAO! Good one, martina.

      • Marius Müller

        Well, actually, in 2010 there was a mouse born with the genes of two dads and no mother. And just a few days ago there was the news that it is possible to make human egg
        and sperm cells using skin from two adults of the same sex.

        So, maybe there is a future where Men live on mars and women live on Venus.

        • Kaneda

          Davon hab ich schon gehört, ne Forscherin soll ja in einem labor künstliches sperma hergestellt haben. Die Oogenese sollte beiderseits nicht schwer nachzuvollziehen sein.
          Das hört sich jetzt sicher schwer verschwörungtehoretisch an, aber die technologie dazu haben wir schon länger.

    • Lou

      John Smith, you are a disgusting pig.

    • nrc

      We know who doesn’t get pussy and is feeling some type of way lol john

      • John Smith

        Typical ignorant response ! Any man who doesn’t worship women ” just needs to get laid “.I can already tell just from that response alone, that you are pussy-whipped and put women on a pedestal . There will come a day when a woman will treat you so badly that she will shatter those rose-colored glasses you’re wearing and you will see women as they really are.You obviously know nothing about how feminism has taken over this country to the extent that feminist teachers in public schools are ” resocializing ” boys to behave like girls b/c allegedly, masculinity is toxic and must be stopped before a boy becomes a criminal. I hope you have no children until you wake up so that you don’t promote the status quo.

        • tiki

          I’m female and feminist ladies annoy me. I like men being masculine

          • M

            Do you want a cookie?

          • drake green

            yes

          • John Smith

            Thank you for that. So what about feminism annoys you ?

        • drake green

          what a pig

          • John Smith

            Really ? That’s the best you can do ? Pathetic !

    • Makeda

      This person is crazy stupid. Making women obsolete?there would be no need for feminism if it weren’t for patriarchial crazy ass me like you. This technology is crazy and lack value and understanding of life. Scientist trying to play God/Nature…when else has that gone totally wrong…that has gotten us to where we are now.

      • John Smith

        ” Patriarchal crazy ass ” ? There is no patriarchy ! Just because most

        influential people are male, does NOT mean that a woman can’t hold the same position.That’s just the typical feminist lack of accountability talking. If there is any field that is mostly male, it’s b/c of ” the patriarchy “. No, it’s b/c women have CHOSEN not pursue said field.

        You want proof that there is no patriarchy ? Here it is :

        1) There are more men in jail than women http://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/genderinc.html

        2) Girls do better in schools than boys do

        http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/04/girls-grades.aspx

        3) More women are employed than men

        http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/in-historical-first-women-outnumber-men-on-us-payrolls/

        4) The wage gap is a myth

        http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/in-historical-first-women-outnumber-men-on-us-payrolls/

        I could go on, but I’m getting sick of this.
        Women are privileged here in the U.S. , but yet they constantly plead “victim” so they can acquire MORE benefits.This is the feminist philosophy. This is why men would be better off if they were able to have children without the aide of a woman.

        • chrissie

          Lol awwww. Poor johnny got dissed by a woman lol. Just because we aren’t forced to marry you out of a financial or societal necessity, because now we can have our own standards of what we expect from men, like to be treated with dignity, respect, and that if we have to have a stellar bodies at all stages of our lives, we expect you to not be lazy fatasses, doesn’t give you a right to spew your disgusting sexist vitriol. Maybe you should meet our standards like we have to meet men’s standards or you can die alone and be phased out of the gene pool. Get with the times, we don’t owe you sex or companionship unless you meet our requirements. We’re not your slaves or prisoners. You sound a lot like elliot Roger. You going to go on a shooting spree killing women for not wanting to touch your neglected genitals? Lol

          You don’t deserve anyone’s respect or love with that kind of bs mentality

          • John Smith

            OMG ! You are COMPLETELY missing the point and are way off base.
            1) I did NOT get dissed by a woman. I stated my case and had the facts to back them in the links I have provided.
            2) This is not a matter of sour grapes because I do not believe in marriage. This is not about sex either. If anyone is bitter it’s you b/c you went off on a tangent all your own and way off topic.You are the third idiot to not read what I wrote earlier and to just jump in screaming. Please read my earlier comments.
            Once again, the reason I say artificial wombs are a good thing, is b/c of the feminist agenda. Please see my previous comment. Your rant, as off topic as it was, is proof of how gynocentric this country is.Say anything even remotely negative regarding women and the rants start.

          • pat

            How hilariously atavistic chrissie. You are the scorpion on the frog’s back, and that frog is western civilization. Good riddance.

      • adioAmigo789

        I can understand why this technology makes you scared. It would mean you would lose some of your female privilege, and will have to be treated like men.

        • Alex Chaudhari

          And what did any of that have to do with what she said about Scientists trying to play God?

      • EJC

        Men are already obsolete. As long as sperm banks don’t run out of sperm of course.

        Why not? What if a man wants a child but don’t care for the idea of having a woman around?

        • Neo Theh Vallen

          Men are not obsolete. But women are, it will come a time when women won’t exist. The think is : It will be better this way ?

          • EJC

            “But women are” obsolete?
            How so?

            “The think is : It will be better this way ?”

            Are you are posing a question or making a statement?

          • Neo Theh Vallen

            As long as women are not capable to compete with men in absolute nothing, they’re pointless, serving only for reproduction. As Masterson said several times, the most valuable thing women have to offer these days is sex and fake marrieges.

            Now, I would advice you to search hardly for artificial womb, THIS will make women completly obsolete between 2074-2089.
            This will happen … it’s already happenning, these are facts.

            Now the thing is, what governments can do to stop this process is using ethical means to prevent this, such as several sources from religions. It’s a matter of moral, not the scientific project itself.

          • EJC

            Interesting

          • DesertLL

            Men will be obsolete before women.

          • Neo Theh Vallen

            Right, kid. Just sit there and shut up.

          • DesertLL

            You’ve got issues. No one will date you and I can see why.

          • Neo Theh Vallen

            Alright, kid, more bla bla bla. Go do something productive of your life.

          • Alex Chaudhari

            Ahhhh, someone is so angry, they have to let their feelings be the typical Feminazi BS to prove a point?
            Screw off, textbook definition.

    • GoogleGuest

      Although, I agree that Feminism – especially, the American version of it – has done more harm than good to the family and women themselves, I do not agree with you spewing hatered and denying life to half of the humankind just because you, personally, are unable to sort out your relationship with the opposite sex. We’re all in the same boat here.
      Extremism, be that in interracial, international or any other relations stems from arrogance. Arrogance, stems from unwillingness to exercise the God given ability to think. Any dog can bark, any person with even the most limited vocabulary can express his/her anger using offensive language. So what? What makes YOU any different from a mad dog? Or any better from those you’re shouting at?
      Today, women of the Western world are as dumbed down and confused as men are. So, what’s the use in being at each other’s throat? Won’t it be logical to step back and take a good, hard look at what’s going on in our society and try to find out WHY??

      • John Smith

        A very good question. I believe some feminists have an actual pathology. Some of them ACTUALLY FEEL HELPLESS.( though most just use “the victim” narrative as a means of manipulation) Feminists try to rid themselves of any accountability of their own actions by blaming the mythical ” patriarchy”. ( there is none) Didn’t get the job you want ? It’s the patriarchy’s fault ! Life didn’t turn out they way you wanted it to ? It’s the patriarchy’s fault ! Even women who are non-feminists try to jump on the bandwagon.When a woman sees a feminist getting what she wants just by pleading “victim”, they join in. All of this is a result of our gynocentric culture created by the feminist agenda, it’s cyclical.

    • Jelly Tayco

      “Women will become obsolete and the world will be a better place for it!”-is simply implying that you want our gender gone, period. This may change the future but do not forget what women have done to bring humanity to this point. Whatever this world is now is because of BOTH genders have done. Divorce and custody battles are caused by the existence of women? Ingrate sexist.

      • John Smith

        Marriage, divorce, custody battles all favor women.Marriage is a HUGE gamble. A man is gambling half of his assets that she won’t leave. Women are totally aware that the laws favor them which is part of the reason why women want to get married.For them , it’s a win-win. If said woman want to raise the children according to the ” feminist agenda ” and the husband protests, she can have him removed with one phone call. If he goes along with it, the result is children who grow up to be princesses, white knights and manginas. This is why I say a single father would raise a child to be a much better person . There would be no woman there to hold the weapon of law to his head every moment of every day.This is what women have done to bring humanity to where it is today.Btw, thank you for at least having SOMETHING to say , as opposed to the last three idiots who just blindly scream insults at me with no argument at all. I don’t care what names people call me , but make an argument.

        • DesertLL

          The law is the way it is because men have not held up their end of the bargain when a child is born or a marriage fails. The law creates equality, but not superiority for women.

          • AKR47

            No law is biased and anti male in almost all countries in the world. Fathers have to prove mothers are unfit to get the custody of the children but not the other way around.

          • DesertLL

            Maybe for custody, that’s true, but not for sharing assets and wealth. All evidence points to men having to be forced to pay for their children.

          • AKR47

            Check out Indian law. In a divorce husband is required to give half of his assets to wife and on top of that his parents have to give half of theirs too. There’s no other way around. Funny right? Similar kind of sexists laws exist all around the world but CNN won’t cover these issues cause it affects men. It’s only sexists if it affects women.

          • DesertLL

            Compared with what happens to women in that country, I doubt that’s the most pressing concern. The US divorce laws are what I was talking about.

          • AKR47

            Do you know what happened to men in this country? How the fuck you know you read and watch CNN and think you know everything about India.

          • DesertLL

            I don’t. I just doubt your life is as bad as the average woman’s. Forced vasectomy was 40 years ago, btw.

  • ladycastt

    This is not good!!! Playing God is very dangerous

    • anon

      you say as the very same curousity is what lead us to modern day medicine.

      • Grace Pearce

        Ha ha ha people die for cancer, and various other illness but don’t worry is more important “this” incredible idea. And don’t forget that everyday, there are less and less food in the world.

        • adioAmigo789

          No, there isn’t less and less food in the world. And if you’re so worried about cancer, then become a researcher. Artificial wombs are important to some people just as cancer is to you.

  • libertarianlatina

    Good article until it reached the “Societal Implications” portion and flat out labeled anyone pro-life as conservative and anti-gay. I’m a pro-life libertarian. I think that any 2 or 3 or whatever ADULTS in a consenting relationship ship with a healthy home should be able to raise children regardless of gender. Maybe you should stick to reporting on scientific advancements, GLP, instead of trying to push some liberal agenda in your articles. It makes you look sorely misinformed and arrogant.

    • Emilio Lizardo

      I don’t care about abortion or god, but making gender impairments the new norm is irresponsible.

  • mary

    They don’t realize that is very dangerous. Until something bad happened they should find the cure of cancer, HIV etc instead of wasting money.

    • Arcturus84

      Well, a new ‘vaccine’, and possible treatment, for HIV is up for human trials soon. Gene therapy can accomplish a major blow the infection, possibly even eliminating it, but US congress doesn’t like gene therapy because *insert really stupid idea here*. Gene therapy, and the use of gene modified bacteria, have shown promise with fighting various types of cancer, but again gene therapy, so no go in the states.
      Additionally, I don’t think this is wasting money at all! This tech has a definite upside.

  • Homosexual couples might even be able to get real biological children by iPS technology (de-differentiating cells to a pluripotent state) and then in vitro differentiation into eggs (for gay men) or sperm (for lesbians)

  • Janice Rael

    Thank goodness for this technology to end the baby shortage! Just think! With the world underpopulated as it is, and no orphans, the foster care and adoption industries in tatters, these new baby factories are just what our world needs to ensure that we finally get more babies on Earth! Because there just aren’t enough humans yet to deplete our natural resources right now at all! Please breed more humans! Our DNA is SO special!

    • fergalf

      To be honest overpopulation isn’t the issue. Western wasteful issues are the issue. Of course this sort of technology is more for the wasteful west.

      • anon

        ^^^^^ THAT , japan practically has the US population in a place the size of california and continue to thrive just as well if not better. overpopulation is not the issue x’D

        • Guest

          In many developed European countries the birthrate is below replacement level, women have too few children, this is balanced by immigrants who have more children on average. Artificial wombs can help balance the birthrate as well.

          Japan has one of the lowest birthrates of all developed countries. It’s far below replacement level. If the current trend continues they would become extinct in a few centuries.

          Mostly South and East Asia are densely populated, the rest of the world is much less.

          Article about Japan:

          Japan’s birth rate slumped to a record low in 2014, health ministry figures show, dropping to 1,001,000 newborns in 2014 – 9,000 fewer than in 2013.

          The fall is the fourth in consecutive years and comes as the estimated number of deaths continues to rise, at just under 1.3 million last year.

          Some estimates say that by 2050 the population could be as low as 97 million – 30 million lower than now.

          “Countries need to have a birth rate not too far from replacement level, somewhere in the 1.7 to 2.0 area. Once you drop below that, you cause too much damage to your age structure,” he says.

          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30653825

          In other words, you have too many old people for the young people to support.

          “If you have a birth rate of one,” he says, “that means your population falls by half in one generation, which is about 30 years. After three generations you’re down to one-eighth of your starting population. And one-sixteenth after four.

          “If the Japanese keep their birthrate where it is they’ll quickly become extinct.”

          http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/what-happens-when-half-the-world-stops-making-babies/573/

          • Omega

            “this is balanced by immigrants who have more children on average”

            It’s not balancing. It’s replacement.

        • Webster

          Much less than half the US population … more like a third.

        • lynneb

          Japan, like the US, has “outsourced” much of its resource consumption — what I mean is, they sustain their population in that small an area, by pulling resources from other land masses.

          The Japanese are huge consumers of metal and timber from other areas of Asia, and an even larger consumer of fish stocks from all over the world.

          If they had only the resources of Japan to live from, their quality of life would NOT be high.

      • DesertLL

        It’s not technically the issue, but who wants to give up their standard of living so more people can be born? Isn’t it better to just have fewer?

        • fergalf

          Well arguably our standard of living can only be protected if we have more kids. Without immigration the west would be struggling.

          • GreenLantern

            Here in the UK we have mass immigration and lots of people who were born here living in poverty.

            Immigration is about money saving not low birth rate. We have more people then jobs, Asians bring wealth in and EU workers work for less. It saves training up British born people and when all the migrants have been here a couple of generations they will end up in the same position of being shoved in crap housing and out of work.

          • lynneb

            I live in the UK, too, and actually we do not have “mass” immigration. We have very modest immigration in comparison to much of the world — and a rightwing, fearmongering newspaper industry to wind people up about it.

            And many people born in the UK have decided not to even study engineering, nursing or medicine. We have a desperate need, especially in the NHS, and we import people precisely because we *can’t* find enough British to fill the jobs.

          • DesertLL

            I don’t think our standard of living is sustainable no matter how you look at it. But adding people who demand more and more resources doesn’t seem smart. Unless they’re all going to be scientists.

          • fergalf

            People have being saying our doom is imminent for 200 years and it still has not happened. No finite resource has ever run out ,only renewal resources temporarily eg wood in certain periods. We do need to conserve more and protect the environmental more but more children is essential.

          • Kaneda

            Yeah~ And what bedtimes stories do you get to hear at night.
            We are on the edge to fully automation. Not soon and almost every job will be possibly done by bots.

          • Alex Chaudhari

            You mean grunt jobs, person with no backings.

        • lynn

          I understand supply and demand, however I know couples with children who make less money but live better lives because they know how to utilize their money unlike some people I know who make six figures and blow their finances and are broke and in debt because they are living beyond their means. “Its not what you have, but how you use what you have” or however that saying goes,

          • lynn

            P.S. Also don’t forget those kids could grow up to be doctors and lawyers and make lots of money to take care of mom and dad in their old age! It’s all perspective.

      • Patrick Greene

        Yes Fergalf, and the expending of non-renewable resources.
        The wasted lands. Lolol

    • Webster

      Dozens of countries are facing crises due to under-replenishment levels of fertility. Our world is NOWHERE near overcrowded, despite the neo-Malthusian lunatics.

      • Janice Rael

        “In the U.S. 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 101,666 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.”

        Other countries still have orphanages, and people in some countries abandon newborns (usually girls) to die. There is absolutely no rational reason to continue to make new babies when so many existing babies need permanent homes.

        • Webster

          You realize, don’t you, that 100k children represents less than one third of one tenth of one percent of our country’s population?

          There are about four million births per year in the USA. Based on the numbers you gave, perhaps one percent of them could be displaced by adoptions from the foster care system (over the long term). Even if we were to accept all your premises and ignore the real problems, your “solution” would not put a dent in the birth rate.

          Furthermore, the long term public policy problem is not that we don’t have enough children for parents who want families, but that we do not have enough future workers to support our social welfare programs! Congratulations on completely missing the point.

          • Janice Rael

            How very US-centric of you.

          • Webster

            You started with US statistics, so I replied in kind.

      • lynneb

        Our resource consumption rate far outstrips resupply, however. We are in the position of someone who started with a large bank account (the global resource pool) but spends more than they earn every month.

        If all you’re doing is looking for land to build houses, sure, the world has plenty of that. If you’re looking for housing, food, and energy resources and still have any interest in preserving ecosystems to continue to sustain resources long-term, we’re in real trouble. Obviously we haven’t spent the account down to 0 yet, but we’ve certainly driven large fish stocks down to nothing, we’ve devastated some previously highly productive ecosystems in favour of monocropping which will require more and more chemical and energy investment to maintain, and we’re running out of “easy” clean water, metal sources and fuel. The argument that we haven’t hit a complete crash yet, therefore we never will, is a ridiculous fallacy.

        • Webster

          > The argument that we haven’t hit
          > a complete crash yet, therefore we
          > never will, is a ridiculous fallacy.

          Of course it’s ridiculous! I would never say such a thing. Please respond to what I *actually* say, in the context I say it.

          Overfishing is a problem: the Great Banks will never again have the big fish that once abounded there. The genetic information for those varieties is lost, and there is no plausible mechanism for generating new information. So there’s that.

          Virtually all other resource issues are either on an upswing (e.g., fossil fuels) or the situation is generally improving (reduced loss of rainforests).

          Monoculture is a concern, but it’s not directly related to the issue of this thread, which is overpopulation. Monoculture would be just as much a problem in a depopulated world: more, in fact, as there would be fewer people to preserve other lines and generate new ideas for solutions.

    • dita

      First of all, people who want their own children won’t adopt ever. Even if they pity parentless children. You should respect their wishes. Secondly, overpopulation is the greatest myth. The birth rate has dramatically dropped last few decades almost everywhere. Population of some European countries, Japan and S.Korea has already dicreased. And this tendency brings a lot of problems in economy, social issues, etc.

    • JCNow

      I see this as a very real option for ending the abortion debate. If the state insists that a woman cannot terminate her pregnancy, then she should be able to insist that the state remove the fetus from her body. The state can then bear the cost and burden of “carrying the pregnancy” to term by the use of an artificial uterus.

  • jeremy_hh

    I fail to see any truly substantial upside here, but see plenty of potential pitfalls.
    What am I missing?

    • Jeff Ritchie

      Women with cancer who want a child but can’t because of chemo? Space exploration? The obvious gay community? The possibility of a healthier baby? potential life saving pre birth surgeries? or maybe even a women who is loosing her baby and needs to use one of these till it can reach maturity?
      endless.

      • Global

        Not to mention Liberation of women from the painful, genital and body deforming, often scarring and traumatic (even lethal often enough) experience of 9 months of carrying a baby.

        [Obviously, Women would still be able to carry to term naturally if they wanted or couldn’t afford this technology (I’m assuming it’d only be allowed in very, very, very tightly controlled facilities). But as an experience of gender, birthing would still be highly valued by women’s and probably some religious culture.]

        • Celia

          Agreed. I hope that we would be able to have this technology as soon as we can!

        • AKR47

          And also single men wanting to be fathers.

      • AlwaysSumthin

        You also have the concept that there would be no need for abortion. Women who found themselves pregnant would simply turn over their parental rights and the fetus would be transferred to an artificial womb so that it could be adopted by another family.

    • AKR47

      Saving 10 + million babies killed by mothers is fair enough upside for me.

      • jeremy_hh

        And this would happen how?

        • Butternut

          The mother would be able to have the baby taken out and placed in an artificial womb, instead of taken out and placed in a medical waste bin.

        • AKR47

          Cause abortion.

  • Jean Valjean

    It’ll never happen. Women know intuitively that reproduction is how they maintain control over humanity and that their never ending collective rant against the evil menz (who won’t privilege them enough) won’t have the same teeth that it once had.

    Whatever progress science makes in this area will eventually be ended by women’s groups who will suddenly be forced to admit that women have always had power over men and that power stemmed from their essential reproductive role.

    End that essential role and women might be forced to live with the equality they’ve always claimed they wanted.

  • Laylayah

    If you haven’t already go back and read Genesis 2:7, Deuteronomy 32:6, Psalms 100:3, but before reading the Bible remember that it was first written in the Hebraic tongue and Hebrew is a language of metaphor so don’t confuse yourself with the metaphorical writings its up to you to discern what its clearly stating but anyway by reading those verses [though there are many more that state evidence] this act of a motherless birth is clearly thought out from a mind of satan, now don’t get all spooked out about someone having a satanic mind because if someone can have a Godly mind so can they have an evil mind derived from satan. This is foolish and blasphemy! And for any absurd mentality who has the audacity to agree with this is also satan himself. This has no correlation with a mind of God! And if I may offend anyone with this statement my purpose is simply not to but if you are offended I truly and deeply hope that later on down the road will understand what I’m saying for I am only defending God himslef because this, this is stupid and with the caranal eye that I have it sickens me to see satan still trying to get back at God from the Genisis up till now ‘what more can you do satan before God tears your kingdom down? What more!?” and I and others know that satan has more to come but its only a matter of time before the God of creation tears him down!!!!!!

    • BookRose86

      Time to take your crazy pills now, don’t you think?

    • Arcturus84

      what?

    • drake green

      YES I AGREE THIS IS ALL SATANIC (God bless)

  • Ryan

    World Population: 7.2 billion people

    Analysis of these data reveals that, contrary to previous literature, the world population is unlikely to stop growing this century. There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100
    ————————
    Now… tell me…. why are we looking for more ways to have more babies… when we are already running out of space and resources…? Hello.

    • Emilio Lizardo

      All that growth will be in Africa and some parts of the middle east, populations in the West and Japan are declining.

    • Klas Wullt

      We need it to populate space ships and allow women to work and make children at the same time.
      We also need to sterilize the weak gene pool
      and increase the strong gene pools
      those less likely to provide for their children breed more and those able to provide breed to little,
      the gene pool is deteriorating because the modern life style does not allow successful to breed more than the unsuccessful.

      • DesertLL

        There’s no such thing as strong and weak. Whoever is breeding is most fit to. We shouldn’t mess with it.

        • Klokinator

          Yeah, tell that to welfare whores. They exist, and there are more of them than there are responsible loving parents. Don’t be blinded by feminism.

          • DesertLL

            It’s not feminism. Lol. When you mess with who can breed, you don’t end up with the utopia you dream of. Educated people have fewer children. It’s not because they’re better.

          • Kaneda

            Its just we see how corrupted the world is.

          • DesertLL

            Ummm yeah. That’s not actually that hard to see. But that doesn’t mean you sterilize people.

          • lynneb

            I’m going to nominate you as one of the ignorant people who shouldn’t be breeding.

          • Klokinator

            I’ve noticed people tend to project. Those who call others ignorant are by far the most ignorant of all.

          • lynneb

            By that argument, you’re a welfare whore. 😀

          • Klokinator

            Nah, I’m not a pregnant woman living off government assistance.

          • lynneb

            You’re neither responsible nor loving.

            Anyway, it’s perfectly valid to call someone ignorant when they are. You are. You can cope with it in one of two ways — either fix the ignorance, or deflect and deny. We can both see which one you’ve chosen.

          • Klokinator

            It sounds like you’re a pregnant woman living off said governmental assistance. It’s the only explanation for your hilarious butthurt about my comment lolol

          • lynneb

            And, once again, you are wrong on all counts. Colour me utterly surprised.

            Basically, I’m just poking the ugly with a stick to see how much ugly falls out. It amuses me.

          • qqqqq

            And no one gives a shit about you

          • lynneb

            LOL! Except here you are, commenting.

      • Kaneda

        Who wants to have a child in such a f’ed up society.
        I WILL NOT bring an innocent person into a world bound by slavery.

        • Alex Chaudhari

          Slavery? The 1800’s are over.

    • Webster

      We are not running out of space OR resources. We are better able to access the world now than we ever were, and there are huge area as of the world that are practically empty. Cities are crowded, of course, but they take up an insignificant fraction of the earth’s land surface.

      • lynneb

        The physical space that cities take up is hardly the issue. The issue is “ecological footprint”, which is how much of an area is needed to support the inhabitants of a city (how much food do you think is grown inside a city, then?), how many resources are diverted to that city (where does its water come from? How much of that water is diverted away from other resources which really need it, too? What about metal, timber, building materials — where do they come from?), how much energy it uses and where that energy comes from, and where its waste goes and how much land, air and/or water is made contaminated and otherwise unusable by said waste.

        To pretend that all a city is, is its physical building footprint and nothing else, is to ignore the actual practical issues of resource management, and ignore the real problems. You might be privileged to do that as an individual because you just see things which have already been brought into your environment from elsewhere and don’t have to worry about where they come from, and you just flush your toilet or throw out your garbage and don’t worry about where it goes, but as a species we have to be a little bit smarter and better at planning and understanding than that.

        • Webster

          > To pretend that all a city is, is its
          > physical building footprint and nothing
          > else, is to ignore the … real problems.

          Absolutely. But it is equally ignorant for city residents to note that they live in a “crowded” area, and that everyone they know is similarly situated, and therefore that the world must be overcrowded. Because, while there are thoughtful folks like you who consider the real issues, there are a lot more who just say, “The world is overcrowded! The world is overcrowded!” without understanding how big the world is beyond the reach of the subway system.

          The truth is that the world population is both larger AND wealthier than ever before. And I’m not just talking about in terms of nominal dollars, but in terms of being able to get desirable outcomes with that money. In addition, the ecological outcomes in wealthy developed nations are improving: air and water in the USA are cleaner than they used to be. Currently developing nations are learning from our experience and will likely be able to skip the “dirtiest” stages of development we went through by integrating antipollution measures as they go. At least, in non-dictatorships I expect that to happen, as long as we don’t try to short-circuit the process by limiting their access to wealth-generating energy. Poor countries don’t do anything to preserve their environment: they just try to feed themselves. It’s wealthy countries that take steps to improve their ecological footprint.

    • Webster

      Besides which, what makes you think that ectogenesis will lead to more babies?

      By dehumanizing the process, it’s more likely to lead to fewer.

    • dita

      First of all, people who want their own children won’t adopt ever. Even
      if they pity parentless children. You should respect their wishes.
      Secondly, overpopulation is the greatest myth. The birth rate has
      dramatically dropped last few decades almost everywhere. Population of
      some European countries, Japan and S.Korea has already dicreased. And
      this tendency brings a lot of problems in economy, social issues, etc.

  • T_M@ζغ

    Why all of those arguments.? You guys have to understand for a woman that a child is the most if not the only successful weapon against a man where they ask $15,000 in child support and spend only 10 to 15% on the child and spend the 90 and 85% on themselves. They just don’t understand the technology will benefit both sexes. The same way that a man will be able to have a child without a woman is the same way that a woman will be able to bear a child without a man Think about it for now. Children brings money in (Child support, Food Stamp, Sole custody) and after all they still want to appear as the victim so the man will always look bad. If that technology become standard they know that their colonial era on men starting in the mid-20th century with all of these laws giving them rights to do anything they want because they pretend to be weaker than men. But remember that you (women) are fighting for EQUALITY by trying to be everything that men are. So if I don’t need you to have a child why are you ( women) complaining. We still going to have sex… Don’t Worry Girls….

  • Karen Glammeyer Medcoff

    so, they want to create a world full of people who have little to no emotions, because of the bonding that happens in the womb between the baby and mother. where the baby first learns things like love. Yeah, screw that crap.

    • drake green

      agree

    • Klas Wullt

      Love is just biology. They want to create a world where we can afford more emotion than every. A baby doesn’t learn love.
      Bonding in the womb is not necessary to give the child love and affection.

    • AKR47

      And also they want to save 14 million babies who will be killed by mother before even they are born.

    • Butternut

      You got any scientific evidence to say they learn love in the womb.

      Or do you think that way because it sounds pretty?

      • Karen Glammeyer Medcoff

        babies learn hear and connect things in their brains in the womb at a certain age. some even have pre birth memories. I did, but had no clue what they were until I found my mother when I was 18. so yeah. things start in the womb, and love more than likely is one of them.

        • adioAmigo789

          Hatred is more than likely another. Perhaps these artificially gestated babies will love more and hate less than conventional babies. The only way to know is to create them and find out.

          • Webster

            That would be incredibly unethical to experiment on humans like that.

  • Modapu

    Mostly South and East Asia are densely populated, the rest of the world is much less.

    Japan has one of the lowest birthrates of all developed countries. It’s far below replacement level. If the current trend continues they would become extinct in a few centuries.

    In many developed European countries the birthrate is below replacement level, women have too few children, this is balanced by immigrants who have more children on average. Artificial wombs can help balance the birthrate as well.

    Article about Japan:

    Japan’s birth rate slumped to a record low in 2014, health ministry figures show, dropping to 1,001,000 newborns in 2014 – 9,000 fewer than in 2013.

    The fall is the fourth in consecutive years and comes as the estimated number of deaths continues to rise, at just under 1.3 million last year.

    Some estimates say that by 2050 the population could be as low as 97 million – 30 million lower than now.

    “Countries need to have a birth rate not too far from replacement level, somewhere in the 1.7 to 2.0 area. Once you drop below that, you cause too much damage to your age structure,” he says.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30653825

    In other words, you have too many old people for the young people to support.

    “If you have a birth rate of one,” he says, “that means your population falls by half in one generation, which is about 30 years. After three generations you’re down to one-eighth of your starting population. And one-sixteenth after four.

    “If the Japanese keep their birthrate where it is they’ll quickly become extinct.”

    http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/what-happens-when-half-the-world-stops-making-babies/573/

  • Chantaway

    Doesn’t bonding between mother and child begin in the womb? We are getting so far away from nature. I don’t think it is a good idea.

    • SrednaKun

      I just wanted to elaborate on the idea of a mother and child bonding during pregnancy. In my own opinion this is a pretense that people may impose on the mass population of people who go through child bearing. I think that people are individuals and have unique personalities, so we may differ in how we perceive experiences. Those who are carriers of the child, may begin bonding with the child in the womb, some after, some before, some never.

      I just wanted to give you another perspective, and I totally respect your opinion. Very interesting thoughts 🙂

      • Amanda Trail

        I agree with you. I felt no connection with my son until he was born. I am going to be a surrogate and i feel it will be the same way little or no connection and knowing the chil dis not mine will further cement that emotion distant

    • Klas Wullt

      nature is an illusion, it does not exist.
      Humans should redesign the hole ecosystem because its just as natural to do so as to not do so.

      • lynneb

        If nature is an illusion and doesn’t exist, despite the vast physical evidence to the contrary, then we can safely say you’re an illusion and don’t exist either. So we can simply ignore you.

        Cool!

    • lynn

      so I guess you don’t go out to a restaurant to eat because dining outside your home is unnatural!

      • Hoek

        Yeah because thats a good comparison right? smh

      • Robb Alle

        HAHAHAAHAHHAHA youre a retard

      • Jami

        This may be the dumbest comparison I have ever seen on the internet. It’s scary how many people have NO ability to think rationally….and yet your type are allowed to vote.

        • Lisa

          Wtf u mean your type? I agree with your point of view and respect your opinion but u really have to go there?

          • Jami

            The type who have NO abilitity to think rationally. Duh!

          • adioAmigo789

            As if you would know anything about rationality.

          • lynn

            Just take a minute and think about it. Its just a different place to get food. There is nothing wrong with going out to get a meal. Just think about it for one minute.

          • lynn

            also there are many people who get food from a tube going into their stomach because of medical issues, this would be how these fetuses would get their food from outside the womb. (rational?)

          • 11nene

            Do you even know what your talking about?

        • lynn

          I was merely saying that the device is just another way to get food, that’s all. Plus, bonding with a child goes far beyond just carrying it. It takes hard work through out the years to build a good parent/child relationship.

          • daneeka

            Yes bonding does take years to build but it initially starts in the womb. There’s an experience to carrying the child within you. Personally I feel that these artificial wombs should only be used of normal pregnancy would harm the mother.

          • Rae

            What about surrogate mothers or those who adopt children? It might sound nice to think 9 months will truly affect your bond to your child but honestly I think that all depends on how you go on to raise a child. I’m not going to completely say no to this when there are barren women who want a child and more than one or two options to do it.

          • lynneb

            As has been pointed out, there are quite a few adoptive parents in the world with perfectly close and loving and “bonded” relationships with their adopted children. And what about fathers? Do you think they can’t bond with a child, because they never gestate it?

            To claim that you have to physically gestate a baby in order to bond and have a good relationship takes absolutely no account of the real world. “Your belief” does not define reality.

          • JCNow

            “Bonding” does not occur if the mother doesn’t want to carry the pregnancy to term. In fact, being forced to carry a pregnancy to term against one’s will would create the exact opposite of bonding. Hatred would probably be more correct.

        • lynn

          I don’t vote R or D. I vote based on credentials, like education and job experience.

    • Vinnie Melo

      Lot’s of Animals have very short bonding periods. It’s not uncommon in nature.

      • Webster

        But we aren’t “lots of animals” — we’re one: humans.

    • Shawn

      There’s already a lot of variables in that already. The news is full of stories of mothers who do monsterous things to their birth children. On the inverse side, plenty of adoptive parents are extraordinarily loving towards their kids. Bonding can happen perfectly fine separate from pregnancy.

    • Kaneda

      WELCOME TO THE 21st CENTURY!

    • greyghost1

      Women don’t bond with anything

    • MGTOW 007

      Chantaway, is just a typical feminist. Women will be useless and obsolete in the future!!!

      • Alex Chaudhari

        Oh look, the typical textbook misgyonist who wants a Bene Tleiex type utopia. Ignore this misanthropic munchkin.

    • greyghost1

      Abortion is legal there is no bond.

  • Chantaway

    Maybe as an option for those who cannot have children on their own

  • The Guiding Light

    This is an interesting technology. Imagine a future where either sex can decide independently whether they want a child and actually have it. Imagine going down to what ever agency and apply for a baby making instruments. That would mean prospective parents would have to show proof of resources to raise and care for a child. Kind of like buying a house or any major purchases. Imagine no more “Daddy’s maybe.”
    This futuristic possibility would really give women the equality they have been pursuing, no longer will they monopolize the process of giving birth. Kind of like a one car family, where either wife or husband can drive. A kitchen either husband or wife can cook in it. The idea that this conflicts with “God’s will” is mute. There doesn’t seem to be any arguments about the development of cars when “God” created us with legs to walk. Selective arguments is the obstruction of hypocrites. God didn’t create the internet but they are using it. Innovative technology is the proof of man’s creativity. The difference between our species and all others. If there is a devil, than apparently “mankind” as a whole must be the devil. I personally doubt such a ludicrous idea. The big bang is still in effect. The continuing expansion of the universe will bring us to many discoveries. Get ready to enter the 5th dimension. Where, regardless of your race, gender or wealth you are simply an element of a greater element. Those that choose God & devil to make their point, makes no point, because neither can be substantiated and science is the process of substantiation.
    Women who refuse to take a look at their contribution to the break down of the family nucleus will continue to point the finger at men. This will further encourage men to discover ways to limit contractual activities with women. Make no mistake about this, nothing remain the same. The days of disproportionate judgement against men is slowly fading away. True equality will come to place in many ways, not just in the area of giving birth but as well as in the work place. Equal pay for equal work.
    True equality is, embracing the irreplaceable value of both genders. Expecting some mythical occurrence to resolve our differences is comical and cynical. Five hundred years from now, Harry Potter book and someone will use it to manipulate the naive.

  • chimera

    This is just the corporate “persons” (companies that have been given personhood under the law) playing God for profit.

    When will humanity wake up and realize that Corporations/Bankers are taking over the world? If the TPP treaty gets forced through and signed, Corporate Sovereignty will be higher on the legal totem pole than National Sovereignty.

    Wake up humans. Learn your history, learn the law and learn how to apply the law. Corporations are taking over and your time is running out.

  • Grace Pearce

    Ha ha ha people die for cancer, and various other illness but don’t worry is more important “this” incredible idea. And don’t forget that everyday, there are less and less food in the world.

  • katarnah

    What a fucked up world!!

  • thoor

    well i’m going to make my own army then

  • Emilio Lizardo

    The ultimate implication is that people will lose control of reproduction as it becomes industrialized and expropriated by the state. It also simply won’t be necessary to have women anymore at all.

    Biology is what saves us from the state. But Feminism has been chipping away at it for decades.

  • disqus_iKl87UbGah

    I am grateful that I will be dead by the time this happens. a bond like no other is created when a Mother carries her baby. I can’t believe this is going to be the world my son will have to deal with.

  • mistyblacksunshine

    Disgusting! !! But it is written of the soulless humans. People playin God. Higher power . Creator . Beginning or End. I can see nothin but a design for regret

  • Lydia Oh Lydia

    How do they propose to inject 40 weeks of LOVE and learning that is experienced inside the biological womb of an active woman?
    Will these organisms have a soul/spirit?

  • Guest

    Fascinating
    article – and, in my view, technically preposterous. I think the author makes some
    huge and unjustified leaps from “We’ve gotten better to saving preemies
    in the NICU” to “We will soon have artificial wombs that can take over
    the entire process of development.”

    1. The
    author doesn’t say anything about how an
    artificial placenta might work. He mentions successful attempts to grow
    endometrium in the lab, but the placenta is far a more complex and and
    sophisticated set of tissues than the endometrium. (Embryo transfers are always done very early in development, before the placenta has formed.)

    2. He doesn’t mention the subtle,
    ongoing, and ever-shifting hormonal interchange between the baby and the
    mother; how would that be replicated in vitro? We do not even understand all the hormonal dynamics of pregnancy, let alone possess the capacity to accurately reproduce them.

    3. He doesn’t mention the
    no doubt staggering costs of such a high-tech system; rather, he
    suggests that it could be used to save every aborted fetus and provide a child to anyone who wants one.
    (Does he know that one month in a NICU can cost a million dollars?)

    4. He pays no heed to the fact that even with our best medical
    technologies, babies who leave their mothers’ wombs too early – even a
    few weeks too early – are statistically more likely to have lifelong
    physical and mental deficits. That doesn’t bode well for Dr. Warmflash’s
    brave new world.

    It seems that in writing this article, Dr. Warmflash chose not to interview any researchers in obstetrics, neonatology, embryology, or any other relevant specialties. I very much doubt that experts in this field would share the author’s optimism that artificial womb technology would be possible in the foreseeable future.

  • Amber Catherine Kerr

    Fascinating article – and, in my view, technically preposterous. I think the author makes some huge and unjustified leaps from “We’ve gotten better to saving preemies in the NICU” to “We will soon have artificial wombs that can take over the entire process of development.”

    1. The author doesn’t say anything about how an artificial placenta might work. He mentions successful attempts to grow endometrium in the lab, but the placenta is far a more complex and sophisticated set of tissues than the endometrium. (Embryo transfers are always done very early in development, before the placenta has formed.)

    2. He doesn’t mention the subtle, ongoing, and ever-shifting hormonal interchange between the baby and the mother; how would that be replicated in vitro? We do not even understand all the hormonal dynamics of pregnancy, let alone possess the capacity to accurately reproduce them.

    3. He doesn’t mention the no doubt staggering costs of such a high-tech system; rather, he suggests that it could be used to save every aborted fetus and provide a child to anyone who wants one. (Does he know that one month in a NICU can cost a million dollars?)

    4. He pays no heed to the fact that even with our best medical technologies, babies who leave their mothers’ wombs too early – even a few weeks too early – are statistically more likely to have lifelong physical and mental deficits. That doesn’t bode well for Dr. Warmflash’s brave new world.

    It seems that in writing this article, Dr. Warmflash chose not to
    interview any researchers in obstetrics, neonatology, embryology, or any other relevant specialties. I very much doubt that experts in this
    field would share the author’s optimism that artificial womb technology would be possible in the foreseeable future.

  • conscientia

    You dare dally into an area you clearly have no real knowledge what it is about.

    “Considering abortion, for instance, while the proposition that a fetus,
    even an embryo, is a person with a ‘right to life’ is a religious belief
    that cannot be imposed on everyone else, the main argument for the
    right to choose is a woman’s right to control her body. If a developing
    embryo or fetus is not viable and the mother wants it out of her uterus,
    that’s her right.”

  • drake green

    ok no they have NO right to try and do what God does this satanic bull crap and the person who thought of this needs to have a “come to Jesus” meeting because God and only God alone can create lives and to use these children for organs is down right stupid even without the satanic aspect they have to know just how wrong this is i mean. How would a congress official feel if they had a child and some random ass person came by took the baby and ripped its organs out only to sell them to the one who pays the most. STEP IT UP DAMN IT

  • drake green

    calling it “the era” of the motherless birth is stupid the only “era” that i see is the era of bull crap government trying to play god

  • SrednaKun

    I think this was is an excellent article learning about artifical wombs. Thanks for writing this article to Astrobiologist, Physician, and Science Writer, David Warmflash, you did a great job.

    This is such a facinating topic and I applaud all respectful comments written on here. It is high time we took a stand against sexism and bullying. So I just wanted anyone who wrote a comment that was informative, insightful, or resepectful to feel proud for making the world a better place.

    This topic has been highly interesting to me and my husband ever since I myself have had children, we have been thinking about how there is so much to be improved in this area. We now understand how limiting a women’s reproductive biology can be to her life and future. And how it contributes to sexism and inequality. Because of this I plan on becoming a Scientist that contributes to the knowledge of Ectogenesis.

    So to me, creating an artificial womb sounds like the perfect option, for those who would like to choose for themselves to not have a child or to have children (no more surprise conceptions, hinging on the uprise of choosing sterilization over temporary birth control options), without being limited by their own biology if they choose to have a child, and the removal of any trauma associated with any person whose is going through pregnancy and childbirth. And of course anyone who would want to have a child in their own womb, is still a great viable option. We are not limiting people’s choices, we are expanding them, and treating people as individuals with their own unique wants and ideals.

    And last but not least I would like to end with some thoughts from a great Feminist Leader, Shulamith Firestone.

    “Approaching the topic of political theory from a feminist viewpoint, she argued that gender inequality was, in the end, ultimately dictated by biology. Pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing were a vital part of human existence, but the need to reproduce the species efficiently had made women vulnerable, and a patriarchal system had been imposed on much of the human race as a means of perpetuating the system. Few could dispute the fact, she wrote, “that Women throughout history before the advent of birth control were at the continual mercy of their biology—menstruation, menopause, and ‘female ills,’ constant painful childbirth, wet-nursing and care of infants, all of which made them dependent on males (whether brother, father, husband, lover, or clan, government, community-at-large) for physical survival.
    “http://www.notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-Ca-Fi/Firestone-Shulamith.html

    “In the 1970 book The Dialectic of Sex, feminist Shulamith Firestone wrote that differences in biological reproductive roles are a source of gender inequality. She singled out pregnancy and childbirth, making the argument that an artificial womb would free “women from the tyranny of their reproductive biology.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_uterus

  • Ashille

    Going through the comments makes one realize how educated our society really is. So many people don’t even see outside their little perfect world and are so oblivious from the real issues of the world out there!

    This technology isn’t meant to make women obsolete and to act as a substitute to getting pregnant the normal way for normal people. It’s for those couples who can’t conceive. There are so many sterile couples out there who yearn to have a baby but can’t. The same thing goes for gay male couples. It is those categories of people who are to benefit from the advent of this technology!

    To all those dimwit persons who have posted negative comments, and are supposedly condemning technology on moral grounds, please go and widen your horizons and start seeing things form different perspectives.

  • Maria

    More ways to rebel against YHWH.

  • disqus_GB8lUuziuG

    Unless family courts change a great deal I bet allot of single men who want children would opt for this. Imagine a world where you could have kids without the risk of having them ripped away on the whims of a woman and without risk of indentured servitude, the future is looking very bright. Female dominance over reproduction coming to an end will have HUGE effects on society.

  • Fed Up

    Wonder how long the waiting lines will be for this and the cost involved. Is this the plan, defertilize the populace then make it so only those of good fortune are able to have children? Makes ya wonder!

  • Golden Peach

    A baby does begin bonding with the mother inside the womb. Why do you think it is that the baby is calm next to the mothers chest, because it recognizes the mothers heart beat that it has spent 9 months listing to and feeling. Then every other person who has contact with the baby while in its early months of life causes the baby to cry because they don’t have anything like say the mothers heart beat or even the mothers voice for the baby to familiarize it’s self with. That’s my understanding of child bearing. .oh and any critics that don’t agree please save any negative feed back I didn’t ask for any opinions I just simply stated my own.

    • AKR47

      So why not the western society destroyed the father child bond now it is going to be pay back time.

  • sftommy

    Military applications, breeding the soldier with the perfect qualities for specific missions.

  • tobewan

    Even here in this part of life, man will see he needs the Creator’s control, as things continue to get ‘out-of-hand.’ Pray for the incoming divine kingdom, and it’s righteousness.

  • iCareSoVeryDeeply

    My sister knows a guy whose wife filed for divorce. Now he pays more than half his income so another man can sleep in his bed. So far, so good. Then he got laid off from his job and couldn’t make alimony payments. He’s essentially unemployable, and goes back to jail, six weeks out, a month in. Many men look to this technology as a way to have children without taking the very real risk of what amounts to life in prison. #MGTOW

    • AlwaysSumthin

      I’m sorry but alimony which is rare in this day and age is, for the most part, only for those who have been married for a decade or more and there is a large discrepancy in income or if the spouse being paid has a serious medical condition. It has nothing to do with children. Here’s some information by state on alimony.

      http://www.divorcenet.com/topics/alimony

      Child support is payment to support one’s children which one should do regardless of whether the parents are together. Adults who don’t have the ability to understand that having children is a twenty year (or more if the child has health issues) financial responsibility, should consider always using birth control or getting themselves sterilized.

      And you might want to learn more about the concept of legal relationships yourself before getting married. Each individual’s body belongs to themselves only and who they choose to share it with, especially after a divorce is no one’s business but their own.

      • iCareSoVeryDeeply

        Okay, apparently it didn’t happen.
        So maybe this situation was a hallucination, or maybe you are a hallucination. Who’s to say?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    The funny thing about these comments below is so many people are talking about this “bond” that pregnancy causes and bemoaning it being lost, which means they’re shitting all over adopted parents and those who use IVF and surrogacy. Seriously, you all disgust me.

  • s

    There are to many children that need to be adopted and don’t have parents. Why would you want to bring more children into the world without parents?

  • Jack Van Kirk

    Brave New World, here we come.

  • Eliza.

    Power to produce children without the physical human process of parents is both interesting in theory and concerning for mankind .
    There is more to human reproduction than just the biological process, there are many other factors involved, such as the learning which occurs in vitro as the foetus experiences sounds and movement of the mother, her heart beat and voice and emotions, the sounds of its siblings and other family members and his or her future environment. Yes perhaps science will be able to achieve creating artificial wombs, but I highly doubt it will create that element so vital for preparation for human interaction and bonding. There is so much science needs yet to understand about human beings before ever going down that path.
    What sort of implications would arise if this went ahead?
    There would be so many more ethical questions.
    Certainly glad it won’t be in my life time on this earth.

  • GreenLantern

    I think this should happen because this is the only way women can be fully liberated. Thats not bc having children is a trap, but because men have to get a woman to reproduce and because of that are always gonna try and dominate women on some level. At present women choosing not to have children makes the decision for men too. If women want their body to themselves, the right to live in it and do as they wish with it society wont let them forget their reproductive function.

    There is a problem though, people may choose to just reproduce males and get rid of females completely. It would be a mistake though bc future generations would be stuck with an all male population if the technology somehow went down due to a disaster of some kind.

  • GreenLantern

    Bonding.

    • Butternut

      NO BUT THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN BECAUSE I AM A LUDDITE WHO THINKS SCIENCE FICTION IS REAL!

      SQUIRRELS PURRING IS PLAYING GOD!

  • Mark Talmont

    A baby begins the development of immunity in the womb.

    Premature babies are at higher risk of developing an illness because their immune systems are not as strong and they have not had as many antibodies passed to them.

    So are they going to wind up throwing away a bunch of experimental babies until they figure out how to get the artificial womb immunity “right”? I don’t believe anyone really knows where to begin to achieve this. Lots of experiments to be disposed of I suppose.

    I recall the East German scientist who found a spike of homosexuality in males born to women who carried through the worst of the WW2 bombing. Theory was stress hormones the causal relation. I guess you could argue the artificial womb could be made stress-less but then how are you going to know for sure that something else they would otherwise get in a real womb isn’t going to turn them into sociopaths? My old Lerner and Libby intro text argued that such traits were probably genetically rooted. So if you wait until the human grows up and they are a danger to others you get rid of them? Kind of like Blade Runner?

    The arrogance of people with their blind faith in technology is breathtaking. Comments below reflect an ideological affectation of someone who reads Huxley’s Brave New World and says “ooooh yeah!” Probably Orwell too. Because after all, The State is going to have to control all of this, right?

  • Jace Mindue

    Welcome eugenics wars!

  • Christian Malone

    the parasitic, fascist, toxic FEMALE GENDER #parasitegender will not like it 😀

  • Cara Kelton

    Someone were those babies mother and father. The term motherless is incorrect.

  • Greg White

    A artificial womb was used in the 1976 science fiction movie Embryo.

  • GreenLantern

    There is a possibility that artificial wombs will result in humans being unable to give birth naturally after many generation s. This will bwbe the result of babies head growing and females less equipped to birth reproducing. This is already happening as more women have c sections and as medicine has used tools to deliver babies. In the past women died frequently in birth and this pooled out women with mutations that effect their birthing. Some women can birth several babies with few complications and retain strong pelvic muscles afterwards, it may be better to find out why this is before using artificial wombs to ensure these genes dont get lost.

    Sperm when swimming through the female reproductive system meets resistance to ensure the weeker cells dont get to the egg. Even if all from the same man they wont all be as strong. If they are gonna fertilize eggs in the lab they need to mimmic this struggle otherwise they give babies weaker cells. Its too soon for science to be using any of this technology because they have not fully understood how the genome works, more so how epigenetic memory is passed on.

    Im a far left liberal person who has no problem with same sex reproduction from a socially moral view, as in if science knew how the
    genome would be impacted and all was well I would be fine with it. At present this is not known and im of the opinion that creating artificial sperm or eggs from bone marrow cells should not be done to produce children because sperm and eggs carry epigenetic memory which will likley not present the same in bone marrow cells. I know every cell in the human body comes from a set few cells at the start, but an exchange process where different epigenetic memory exists in different new cells probably needs to give different parts of the body different info. Stem cells in different patts of the body could hold unfound epigenetic instructions so making a complete sperm or egg from them in the lab could lead to a break in several thousands of years of passed down epigenetic memory. Fusing two eggs without sperm may also damage the epigenetic code and will lead to daughters only who will then go on to reproduce and pass down these erased epigenetic blue prints.

    Allowing infertile couples regardless of sex reproduce will only rexult in more genes for reproductive complications passing on. I think all people should be able to do what they want eith their body, even if it means altering genes in their body, but this should not alter the germ line cells themselves. When science is able to mimic the whole act of reproduction in the lab and ensure cells pass through the natural fitness tests they would in the body, including exposure to immune cells then im all for artificial reproduction. Just as long as science fully understands sexual differentiation and does not create a problem for the future that will lead to the genome decaying or unable to reproduce naturally.

  • Joseph Conte

    How about let people decide on what/how they want to bring their children into this world and fuck off. end of story. If you 100% disagree with these methods then you are simply not the “target market” at the moment. But monkey see, monkey do and soon enough the whole lot will follow.

  • Bronwen Winter Phoenix

    I’m totally for this, because I’m a selfish bitch who puts her own body first and have serious issues to get over, including a) phobia of all things giving birth related b) fear of all things needle/operation-related. This option would suit me down to the ground, and it would also be a good way to better monitor your baby’s development and spot anything wrong immediately. I think it could save a lot of lives, and that’s never a bad thing.

  • guest

    For someone like myself who might not be able to have a child of my own, this is just another option that could help me and others like myself.

  • Amanda Griffin

    I think this is a bad idea. I mean think about an embryo is sensitive to a lot of things and the main one that comes to mind is light. How is it going to make a healthy baby if the tops are clear and light can get in? If light can get in what else is going to be able to get inside? Common sense says babies are supposed to be grown in a living being.

  • Madison Ava
  • Tanya Robart Prenol

    This is wrong on so many levels. For starters, in the trial process or experimental stages, I believe there would be many deaths or you could even say murders happening.
    Next thing you know “they” will be teaching the unborn child from the womb (note the clear capsules).
    To go off the subject a bit…We as a human race have to grow up way to fast as it is. Then we have to slave our butts off for the rest of our lives just to make life a little better. Life shouldn’t be about “just living”
    Let nature run its course.

  • HandonHeart

    Who’s going to take responsibility over mechanical babies lacking the positive emotional development ??

    Some scientists? I can only laugh! No, they do not even know what this is. While producing these artificial wombs, amounts of natural resources incl. capital etc. will be wasted.
    Without natural bases, could not be built such things, and when nature is used up, then what?
    We no longer want to ride on your Titanic. Scientists destroy nature, our livelihoods and female generativity. Are scientists at all nice and human people? No I do no longer think so!
    Enough is enough!
    Above all, the global social deficit should be removed, which is caused by the technical “progress” and the self-centeredness of scientists.

    Since, there are enough babies who need care and we do not need machines-adapted objekts.

  • i dont like where this is goin

    this is a bad idea and continuing on the conversation from other comments this article isn’t just talking about having the baby in a different womb its about creating a baby artificially and then having the baby and i think its wrong and yes the bonding between a mother and a child starts in the womb considering the child spends its first 8 or 9 months in side of the mother listening to all the sounds such as heartbeat, tummy grumbles, burps, etc. this is a whole bigger thing and eventually this is going to take over everything

  • Webster

    > Considering abortion, for instance, while the
    > proposition that a fetus, even an embryo, is a person
    > with a “right to life” is a religious belief that cannot be
    > imposed on everyone else, the main argument for the
    > right to choose is a woman’s right to control her body.

    That’s a mighty ideologically-charged claim for a site that claims that “science trumps ideology” here.

  • Kubash

    I think it is a good idea for ppl that can’t carry a baby naturally, I have considered surrogacy, and adoption but I’m not comfortable with another woman carrying our baby for 9 months or wat I will feel for a child I adopt. This is something I would try if I can afford it.

  • Kat Hayama

    This is a bad idea. Do we really want 70% of our children by 2074 to be made by ectogenesis? Hope not. The baby in the womb takes traits from the mother and father, the baby bonds with the mother in the womb, the baby is made beautifully. I certainly don’t want to tell my 7 year old daughter “Hey , yeah I never made you, You’re artificial, Love ya Honey”. Plus no offense , women go through periods for a reason. FOR A BABY. Also, during the pregnancy, the mother is pumped with all different kinds of hormones including some that help with nurturing the baby and breast milk. I do not agree with artificial wombs and I think this might be a very bad idea.

  • Wei Cui

    This will change human history, parental investment is a huge difference between the genders. Cultures, psychologies have evolved around different parental investment. Mate and reproductive scarcity will be a thing of the past. Each woman over 18 have about 300,000 eggs. In that sense not only every male will find a mate; but also each woman or couple can reproduce orders of magnitude more than previously. This has 10x 100x advantage over traditional reproduction. A couple can have 1000 babies. Just input energy, matter and time. We split the atom, don’t worry about overpopulation.

  • Walt White

    So if I’m a ” conservative” I automatically don’t like the idea of gays having lab babies? Stereotype much? And how deliciously ironic that science studies biology but claims that a determination of when life “Starts” is a religious issue. How convenient.

  • Mark Talmont

    That type of thinking is much more prevalent in the “scientific community” than is generally expressed; the technomaniacs who actually dislike the concept of “nature” itself are ascendant and constantly get a much better “press” than they deserve (usually by lies of omission) in the corporate-controlled media. Exhibit A is the exclusion of evidence regarding the real problems with GMOs; also the almost non-existent coverage of California’s $3 Billion taxpayer-funded CRM fiasco.

  • qqqqq

    This is awesome now both men and women can have a say on the baby without the women complaining about abortion and how it’s being her body

  • greyghost1

    This would be great for working family men to have children with out the threat of having them taken by divorce.

  • JCNow

    I can about imagine the screeching we’ll hear from the social conservatives when this becomes a reality. Because then, they will have to make their arguments, not on the basis of saving the potential life of an unborn fetus, but on the blatant fact that they want to limit women’s choice by controlling their reproductive functions. You can already see inklings of this argument. See Chantaway below, talking about “bonding between mother and child.” So will the conservative crazies then insist they have the right to use women as incubators to give the unborn a better chance at “bonding?” Wouldn’t put it past them.