Artificial wombs could soon be a reality. What will this mean for women?

We are approaching a biotechnological breakthrough. Ectogenesis, the invention of a complete external womb, could completely change the nature of human reproduction. In April this year, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia announced their development of an artificial womb. The “biobag” is intended to improve the survival rates of premature babies and is a significant step forward from conventional incubators.

Researchers at Cambridge University, meanwhile, have also kept a human embryo alive outside the body for 13 days using a mix of nutrients that mimic conditions in the womb.

Women’s rights are never more emotive than when it comes to a woman’s right to choose. While pregnancy occurs inside a woman’s body, women have some control over it, at least. But what happens when a foetus can survive entirely outside the body? How will our legislation stand up when viability begins at conception? There are fundamental questions about what rights we give to embryos outside the body (think of the potential for harvesting “spare parts” from unwanted foetuses). There is also the possibility of pro-life activists welcoming this process as an alternative to abortion – with, in the worst case, women being forced to have their foetuses extracted and gestated outside their bodies.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/04/artifical-womb-women-ectogenesis-baby-fertility?

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