Artificial wombs - Guardian article

(22 Posts)
GoldfinchCharm Thu 25-Mar-21 12:31:23

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/25/reproduction-without-pregnancy-emancipate-women-artificial-wombs

Is there already a thread on this? Sorry if so. Couldn't find one...

OP’s posts: |
moofolk Thu 25-Mar-21 12:49:09

Scary stuff. Where is the line in science between whether it can and whether it should be done?

There are tons of ethical issues here, and not all of them outlined in the article.

I fear that they desire for this will mean that funding is found whatever ethical concerns remain.

FlyPassed Thu 25-Mar-21 13:00:06

I think it's a way off, but there's lots of money in fertility and a lot of powerful people who want babies on demand.

This podcast is interesting, amd worth a listen.

Crowd Science: Can We Make an Artificial Womb?
www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswvxh

TeckanandMultra Thu 25-Mar-21 13:38:26

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

AssassinatedBeauty Thu 25-Mar-21 13:46:07

The whole article irritates me, but I was particularly irritated by the claim that, should artificial wombs be developed, reproduction would become equal between men and women. Each would simply need to throw their gametes into the mix. This idea completely misses the process that women need to go through to collect eggs for fertility treatment. Injections for days, with side effects, risk of OHSS, the surgical procedure to physically collect the eggs, pain and recovery afterwards etc etc. Nothing at all like the sperm donation process.

It also misses the whole concept of breastfeeding - is that to be thrown out of the window too? If not, then no doubt women will need treatment to initiate and establish breastfeeding given that they wouldn't have been pregnant and given birth.

Doyoumind Thu 25-Mar-21 13:47:26

How does it emancipate women? Someone is still going to have to care for and bring up the child and is that going to be men taking time off work or working in childcare? No, it's fucking not.

theThreeofWeevils Thu 25-Mar-21 14:07:38

There is an interesting fictional treatment of external gestation technology in the wonderful Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, to which I was introduced by another poster on this board (thank you: you know who you are wink)

vorkosigan.fandom.com/wiki/Uterine_replicator

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Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Thu 25-Mar-21 14:13:01

As usual, where's the concern for the baby in all this? As I understand it, babies get to know their mother's voice and heartbeat during the pregnancy, and that helps them to adjust to life outside the womb after birth. An artificial womb wouldn't provide that.

MichelleofzeResistance Thu 25-Mar-21 14:26:34

Not to mention women are barely allowed paracetamol during pregnancy because think of the baby, but whoopee, all the drugs for an artificially created and sustained pregnancy.

Baby with no need for attachment, no need for care over exposure to drugs, no need for a mother, in fact no feelings or personality or humanity at all. Meet the new must-have accessory.

On the plus side, there'll be huge money to be made in mopping up the massively traumatised, dysfunctional humans created as toys for grownups with too much money and no sense of responsibility.

FlyPassed Thu 25-Mar-21 15:07:30

Excellent points @MichelleofzeResistance

Have you listened to the Venus Rising podcast? Hearing from people who were conceived via various forms of assisted fertility was a real eye opener for me. Some are actually quite traumatised for example those created using a sperm donor. I cannot even imagine the impact on the child - throughout life - if they did not have a mother.

OhHolyJesus Thu 25-Mar-21 16:12:59

I was listening to Venus Rising today Fly!

It's really good and I also recommend The Fertility Business on Amazon Prime...derail over...as you were.

MonkeyNotOrgangrinder Thu 25-Mar-21 16:15:10

Not necessary and not ethical. Poor mice, quite apart from anything else angrysad

peanutbutterjimjams Thu 25-Mar-21 16:23:52

Oh god. My first thought was that rich abusive pedophiles could just grow their own victims.

I feel sick.

SquishySquirmy Thu 25-Mar-21 16:24:58

Artificial wombs for premature babies is I think realistic in the near(ish) future.
Maybe in my lifetime.

Artificial wombs that grow healthy babies from conception to birth will remain as science fiction for a while though.

Artificial wombs that replace human pregnancy in a widespread way is an even more distant possibility.
Because even once it becomes technically possible, the technology would have to become incredibly cheap for it to be economically possible.
As grim as it sounds, to become widespread the technology would have to be cheaper than (or at least comparable to) the alternatives... and human bodies are cheap, especially in some parts of the world.

MichelleofzeResistance Thu 25-Mar-21 16:41:07

There is something disturbingly pathological about adults who can see a human child as nothing more than a blank slate for them to project themselves and their needs on to, and do not wish to be burdened with any concerns regarding the child's needs and interests in their getting of a baby.

It's the kind of view that would get a large red rubber stamped 'Not Approved' on the assessments for adoption. Its the kind of view that would get a social worker seriously concerned about the parenting capacity of a birth parent. This viewing of other humans as service providing units is spreading.

zzizzer Thu 25-Mar-21 16:56:17

The attachment disorder implications here are horrendous.

What a cruel experiment on someone this will be.

SmokedDuck Thu 25-Mar-21 16:59:21

AssassinatedBeauty

The whole article irritates me, but I was particularly irritated by the claim that, should artificial wombs be developed, reproduction would become equal between men and women. Each would simply need to throw their gametes into the mix. This idea completely misses the process that women need to go through to collect eggs for fertility treatment. Injections for days, with side effects, risk of OHSS, the surgical procedure to physically collect the eggs, pain and recovery afterwards etc etc. Nothing at all like the sperm donation process.

It also misses the whole concept of breastfeeding - is that to be thrown out of the window too? If not, then no doubt women will need treatment to initiate and establish breastfeeding given that they wouldn't have been pregnant and given birth.

I just don't think technology of any kind can be fundamental in a quest for rights or justice or equality. Over-emphasis can actually undermine the distinct natures of the things you feel are not being treated equally with the result that we come to see the characteristics that define the group as inherently less desirable.

Graffitiqueen Thu 25-Mar-21 17:18:49

This is terrifying. Have none of them ever read Brave New World?

A mother's womb isn't just a jar. What about the baby's bond with it's mother which is developed in utero?!

the section on how it could affect abortion rights is also worrying. So many ethical and legal questions.

alwayslucky Thu 25-Mar-21 18:20:45

Climate Emergency. The very last thing the planet needs is extra humans. Stop all artificial reproduction and as much as possible stop the old type too. Those eager to parent will, unfortunately, find a plentiful supply of ready made humans needing loving care.

merrymouse Thu 25-Mar-21 19:02:48

The obstacles to growing humans outside the human body will be ethical and legal, not technological.

She forgot 'financial'.

Meanwhile many people don't have reliable access to clean water.

HermitsLife Thu 25-Mar-21 19:12:47

The main issue I have with this is that there seems to be a lot of money available to spend on stuff like this but on the other hand women and babies are still dying in labour, suffering life long and life changing birthing injuries, and women suffering multiple miscarriages and still births.

I'd prefer research going into existing maternity issues before going into stuff like this.

Clymene Thu 25-Mar-21 19:55:07

Where's the why? I don't believe it's to help pre term babies to live. If that was the object, the money would be thrown at understanding why - and preventing - women going into early labour. And into preventing women needlessly dying as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

If maternal health and foetal health is at risk, physicians should always prioritise the life of the mother over the child.

Every day over 800 women die worldwide due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. In the U.K., black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

This is nothing to do with saving lives but everything to do with men trying to control the process of giving life which is something only women can do.

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