Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Artificial Wombs

  1. Sep 7, 2003 #1

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    The first test-tube baby is now thirty year old, and a healthy intelligent woman. In vitro fertilization is old technology. So the next development will be to take the fetus to term in an extra-biological device. Aside from rendering most of the arguments about abortion moot, this will enable the optimization (hopefully) of the fetal environment, Of course there will be a furious protest, not all of it purely Luddite.

    Question. Will this technology, as several science fiction authors have suggested, relace normal gestation in advanced societies? Will it lead to manipulation of births by society. Give your opinions.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2003 #2
    Well, one science-fictiony result that I can think of is a revision on the idea of "generation ships". In this case, there needn't be a set of adults, but merely the gamete cells and the artifical womb, in order to concieve the babies; and then an AI "teacher" can raise them.

    Just an idea, but it could have serious meaning, of the Earth begins to become uninhabitable.
     
  4. Sep 20, 2003 #3
    i know that i am out of the loop as far as cloning and such technologies go, but is cloning legal in the US?

    also, i think that many of the science fiction thing that we hear/read/watch about, will probably be a reality one day, but unless i don't know if you could ever completely count out a mother, because women have the need/instinct to take care of there kids, and well what your saying my become the future of schooling, or baby sitting, i don't think it would completely replace mothers.

    i really didn't understand what position you took, but how do you feel about "machine child-raising"?
     
  5. Sep 25, 2003 #4

    Nereid

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, partly. There'll still be lots and lots of women who will want to have a 'normal' pregnancy. However, IMHO, 'extra-biological gestation' won't happen in my lifetime; too many (biological) difficulties, and the alternatives (including surrogate mothers) will remain cheaper for a very long time.

    (BTW, nit-picking; shouldn't that be 'economically developed' instead of 'advanced'?)

    Depends on what 'manipulation [...] by society' means. There would certainly be a wide variety of attempts to regulate the extra-biological gestation - from companies which manufactured the equipment, to those which provided the many services, to hoops which people would have to jump through to be allowed to 'start a baby'. It seems that lawyers will always there - in developed economies, 'the law' seems to be all but inevitable as the mediation device for regulation.

    Aside from that, well, the historical trends seem to be in the direction of giving individuals greater freedom of choice over how they choose to live their lives (as long as that doesn't involve deliberate, or too much, harm to others). So, by the time extra-biological gestation becomes 'mainstream', it'll be primarily a question of individual choice.
     
  6. Sep 27, 2003 #5

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    You raise some excellent points. By "advanced" I meant technologically advanced, not economically (or politically) developed. China and India are two countries that can accomplish just about any technological challenge, but their respective economies are, at best "developing".

    Your thoughts about future society seem to be based on linear projections of the present, but I wonder how long our populist society will last, and whether it will serve as a model or a bad memory for the future world. In a world where small groups of individuals will be able to control kiloton energy releases, dicatorship and police state tactics might well evolve. Indeed. looking at the present administration in the US, they may be already evolving.

    But I am certqainly not criticising your projections. Women's choice seems a desireable goal for this technology, whenever it comes. And I didn't want to get hung up on the technology. Some day the technology will be there.
     
  7. Sep 28, 2003 #6

    Nereid

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes. I wrestled with this a bit. The problem is that when you speculate about the future a century or more out, you can be pretty sure there are enough unknown unknowns to render any speculation pretty useless. Nearer to now, projections of the present are more reasonable.

    I also tried to build on a few invariants - economics, the physiological urge to reproduce, some form of social mediation and control (doesn't have to be institutionalised).

    I hadn't thought of that. It's an interesting topic - start a new thread?
     
  8. Sep 28, 2003 #7

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Yes, I think I will. I'll put it on the Future board.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Artificial Wombs
  1. Artificial Adrenaline (Replies: 10)

  2. Artificial trees (Replies: 11)

Loading...