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Biotech Science Technology

Artificial Wombs In the Near Future? 367

New submitter DaemonDan writes "The first successful pregnancy by IVF was accomplished over 50 years ago, essentially creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Many scientists are trying to take it one step farther with a 100% test tube baby brought to term in an artificial womb. 'Cornell University's Dr. Hung-Ching 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 this New Atlantis Magazine article. Scientists predict the research could produce an animal womb by 2020, and a human model by early 2030s.' The author of the article seems to believe that birth via artificial wombs could become the new norm, but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?"
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Artificial Wombs In the Near Future?

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  • I don't understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:25PM (#41983979) Journal

    Is there a baby shortage we should be concerned about?

  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:27PM (#41983995)

    And Dune was set 1000 years in the future.

    I'm not intimately familiar with the Dune novels, certainly not to the point of others here, but if I'm not mistaken, I think you're off on that figure by at least a power of ten...

  • Cold World (Score:5, Insightful)

    by concealment ( 2447304 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:28PM (#41984017) Homepage Journal

    Born in a test tube.

    Nurtured in a plastic womb.

    Raised by a telescreen.

    Now another soldier for democracy, freedom and the American way...

  • Of all the- (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:31PM (#41984071)
    Really? Artificial wombs, FFS? Look around you, Dr. Fertility. The natural wombs are pumping out product at a terrifyingly prodigious rate with no help from you. Maybe you can work on some other organ that we maybe need to stay alive or something?
  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:36PM (#41984151)

    Not so much a baby shortage as a baby distribution issue. Same with food, water, and most other essentials. We have enough for everyone, it's just some places have so much they waste it whereas other places have severe shortages.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:47PM (#41984299) Homepage Journal

    But of course, if we grow humans in an artificial womb, they wouldn't really alive until we take them out at the end of the 9-month procedure, right?

    If you are referring to abortion poltics, the term you are looking for is "legal person."

    There is no question that a zygote is biologically human and biologically alive.

    Legal person-hood is another matter. This is granted - and taken away - by the common consensus of society or in some cases, the edict of a government or dictator that doesn't reflect the consensus of society. Even ignoring "artificial legal persons" like corporations, a society can grant legal personhood - the state of having the rights of a living person - on sufficiently-intelligent animals or non-earth-originated sentient aliens or even sentient human-created life forms (e.g. computer programs, androids, etc.) if it wants to. If it wants to, it can also take away or deny the personhood of living humans who are too young (e.g. not born yet, or not old enough to be more self-aware than non-human animals), or severely mentally retarded or severely brain-damaged. We can also take away personhood by declaring someone dead even if they are still breathing. Most Western countries do this today when they declare someone "brain dead" if their autonomic systems are working but there is no other brain function.

    By the way, I am NOT advocating denying anyone who has already been born the status of "person" for reasons of mental or physical incapacity short of brain death. If the society I live in makes this a common practice, I'll probably move.

  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:48PM (#41984315)

    Nope, still wrong. Plenty of parents are willing to adopt, as proof look at foreign adoptions. What almost nobody wants is to adopt a kid more than a few months old. Hence the giant foster care system. But for babies supply of parents far exceeds supply of children.

    Not that there isn't some use for this device. I'm thinking for women who can't safely carry to term, they could have the baby moved to an artificial womb. Other than that it's a toy for very rich people who want to have a kid with their DNA but don't want to actually be pregnant- think trophy wives.

  • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:00PM (#41984479) Journal

    By the time you "make" the clones, raise them, educate them, train them, the cost would be astronomical for an army or any worthwhile force. Plus, new soldiers would be at least 16 years out, to be generous.

    Meanwhile you can crank out robots by the truckload for a fraction of the cost. They have much simpler logistical requirements in terms of food, housing, and other amenities. More durable, better endurance, can be repaired. We're a lot closer to robot soldiers than clone soldiers too.

  • by FullCircle ( 643323 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:32PM (#41984901)

    Of course rich women who want to keep their figure will want to go this route.

    If they want to have children without stretchmarks and weight gain, this is perfect, cost be damned.

    It will be the new status symbol.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:24PM (#41985517)

    I suspect that if men were getting pregnant, they would be women.

    A major reason that women didn't do these things and were in the position they were is precisely because of childbearing and raising being an expensive proposition. If men were bearing children, they'd be in the same boat. Men had the duty of going out and ranging either to hunt or fight. This also had the advantage of exposing them to other ideas from over the hill.

  • by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:16PM (#41986025)

    Why? Is there seriously a need to come up with new methods other than good old fashioned fucking?

    I don't think many people have a problem with the fucking, but rather with the subsequent 9-ish months of issues.

    9 months? More like 18+ years. And that assumes said child moves away to college right after high school, gets a good job right out of college, etc.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"