The artificial babies may not be a science fiction anymore.
In coming years, scientists plan to grow human embryos in a lab using high-tech artificial wombs.
Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have put forward their proposal to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin testing artificial wombs on human embryos within the next two years. If they’re successful, the development could radically change the way pregnancy, childbirth, and perhaps even human evolution is going to work in the future.
If these clinical trials go as planned, then fully-functional artificial wombs could be ready within ten years, Yale University physician Carlo Bulletti told Vice last year.
“If the [fetus] were in an artificial womb, it would become possible to access it and control the environment without restricting a woman’s autonomy,”
“So in some ways there could actually be benefits for the [fetus] itself.”
Ten years is a long way off, as far as medical research is concerned. If artificial wombs are proved to be safe and effective, they could help prevent many of the medical complications that can arise during pregnancy and childbirth without compromising the mother and child’s health.
But the ethical and evolutionary dimensions will certainly get complicated if it becomes a reality soon.
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