Artificial wombs have only been trialled on animals, but recent breakthroughs bring the technology closer for humans. Some experts have expressed ethical concerns.
[I]n late September, independent advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) met over two days to consider the possibility of human trials in artificial womb research.
They discussed the technology’s potential to assist extremely premature infants born before 28 weeks gestation. A birth before 37 weeks is considered preterm.
“If gestation could take place outside the body, then perhaps a [person] only has a moral right to end the natural gestation, not to end the life of the foetus,” she tells ABC RN’s Big Ideas.
Catherine Mills, a professor of bioethics at Monash University, agrees that’s a risk.
She says there are concerns about the possible impact on access to terminations of pregnancy, and that “there would be a stronger pressure to use a technology, like an artificial womb, to extend a pregnancy”.
But artificial wombs are currently an experimental technology, so there are still questions to be answered about potential harms and long-term risks.