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Artificial Wombs In the Near Future?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the invest-in-popcorn-when-this-hits-mainstream-politics dept.

Biotech 367

New submitter DaemonDan writes "The first successful pregnancy by IVF was accomplished over 50 years ago, essentially creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Many scientists are trying to take it one step farther with a 100% test tube baby brought to term in an artificial womb. 'Cornell University's Dr. Hung-Ching Liu has engineered endometrial tissues by prompting cells to grow in an artificial uterus. When Liu introduced a mouse embryo into the lab-created uterine lining, "It successfully implanted and grew healthy," she said in this New Atlantis Magazine article. Scientists predict the research could produce an animal womb by 2020, and a human model by early 2030s.' The author of the article seems to believe that birth via artificial wombs could become the new norm, but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?"

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367 comments

Clone Army? (5, Funny)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983899)

As long as they don't all have the surname "Fett"...

Re:Clone Army? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984341)

Just think of them as band-aids for very big boo-boos

Re:Clone Army? (1)

skids (119237) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984395)

Something tells me that anyone unethical enough to raise a clone army is also unethical enough to save cash by using a redundant array of sedated kidnap victims.

Wow... (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983917)

I keep thinking of how sci-fi writers sometimes get behind the "now". In Dune they had "Axlotyl tanks" to grow clones in, and it turned out that these "tanks" were human women. And Dune was set 1000 years in the future. Are they going to call these artificial wombs Axlotyl Tanks?

Star Trek did the same thing when McCoy gave Kirk reading glasses, and the CrystaLens came out about fifteen years later.

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41983995)

And Dune was set 1000 years in the future.

I'm not intimately familiar with the Dune novels, certainly not to the point of others here, but if I'm not mistaken, I think you're off on that figure by at least a power of ten...

Re:Wow... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984079)

Are they going to call these artificial wombs Axlotyl Tanks?

Is that a serious question? Why would they do that?

Re:Wow... (2)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984329)

Maybe McGrew's a computer scientist. Look at the way they name things. 8 bits is a byte, and half of a byte is a nibble. You come from a background like that and you're seriously liable to name anything after whimsey :)

Re:Wow... (0)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984415)

Is that a serious question?

Of course not, did you even read the comment? Or hear of the series Dune [wikipedia.org] by Frank Herbert? And while I'm at it, why in the hell does wikipedia have articles about the TV series, movie, and video game but not the damned books? Epic fail all around! Am I the only one left on this planet that still reads???

Re:Wow... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984585)

Reads? Like the TV Guide?

Re:Wow... (1)

Raelus (859126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984593)

Blame the lazy media culture we live in. A deep story about philosophy and morality and the nature of the universe and trying to predict the future? Fuck that, we need another humdrum action movie instead but with worms and sand instead of cartel lords and lone police officers.

Re:Wow... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984193)

Look at the pads or communicators in every Star Trek series. They can travel at greater than light speed but can't manage a decent tablet or smartphone.

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984289)

Uterine replicators were pretty central to the start of Bujold's series in '86 with one of her first Hugo's coming out of that initial plot. She's examined their impact from a few different angles over the years - although it's just background or a side line in many of the Vorkosigan novels. I'd say she gave it a far better treatment than Herbert (though he certainly got there first) who only ever managed to share a Hugo let alone win the four Bujold's got. Actually, I think I liked the collaborative work of his son with Anderson a bit more than most of the original Dune books (barring Dune itself), although their work is probably best accompanied by a SSRI.

One of the things I appreciate about SF is not just the imagination of the future as much as exploring the ethics and social implications of where we might end up.

Re:Wow... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984599)

I believe Dune actually starts 10000 years after the Butlerian Jihad.... which ended the rule of the thinking machines. So.... no not "now" at all.

"Artificial Womb" sounds so awkward. (3, Funny)

clintp (5169) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983921)

"Artificial Womb" sounds so awkward. How about axlotl tank?

Mr. Atreides to the red courtesy phone please... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983933)

Axolotl Tanks here we come!

It would be awesome if this would allow us to implant our larvae in host animals(maybe cows, those are big and common) the way parasitoid insects do...

Re:Mr. Atreides to the red courtesy phone please.. (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984081)

You, uh... never read the rest of the series did you?

Because that's a horrible way to talk about your wife. The Bene Tleilax are masters of the genome, their Axolotl tanks are women.

Re:Mr. Atreides to the red courtesy phone please.. (1, Redundant)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984333)

Nor did he see any previous comments (like mine, which noted that in Dune, 1000 years in the future, axlotyl tanks are human women). Lots of redundancy in this thread, I wonder if the mods will notice?

(clicking "no bonus buttons because I'm not exactly on-topic here. Hell, if everyone else deserves a downmod I might as well too!)

Re:Mr. Atreides to the red courtesy phone please.. (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984405)

Well he certainly never finished it!

*(Ok, so Herbert and Anderson might have made that possible).

Sonmi lives (0)

AllenABQ (987944) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983941)

"Welcome to Papa John's!" (the chorus of identical looking pizza place staffers, who conveniently can be worked like slaves with no health insurance)

Re:Sonmi lives (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983999)

"Welcome to Papa John's!" (the chorus of identical looking pizza place staffers, who conveniently can be worked like slaves with no health insurance)

You're thinking of this the wrong way.

Imagine how much easier it would be for Cold Stone Creamery to field a team of stunning 16 year old boys with blonde hair that sing whenever you drop a dime in the tip jar.

I hope you aren't over 45 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984065)

Sexconker:

If you are over 45 and tell people you think 16 year old boys are "stunning" that will give a few people the creeps.

Thank goodness this is the Internet and nobody knows or cares how old you are.

Re:I hope you aren't over 45 (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984269)

Sexconker:

If you are over 45 and tell people you think 16 year old boys are "stunning" that will give a few people the creeps.

Thank goodness this is the Internet and nobody knows or cares how old you are.

A: perhaps they each are carrying a taser
B: the guys' handle is "sexconker"

Re:I hope you aren't over 45 (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984419)

Sexconker:

If you are over 45 and tell people you think 16 year old boys are "stunning" that will give a few people the creeps.

Thank goodness this is the Internet and nobody knows or cares how old you are.

Age is irrelevant in this case. Any adult male regardless of their age is creepy making that statement.

I thought the first successful IVF pregnancy was (2)

sconeu (64226) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983945)

Louise Brown [wikipedia.org], born in 1978. That would make it more than 40 years ago, not more than 50.

Re:I thought the first successful IVF pregnancy wa (2)

sconeu (64226) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983967)

Oops. Bad math. *Almost 35* years ago.

Accountability (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983971)

These should be kept seperate from normal medical facilities and under the same sort of scrutiny as Fort Knox. I don't trust a single one of those bastards. :D

I don't understand (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983979)

Is there a baby shortage we should be concerned about?

Re:I don't understand (2)

SteveDorries (1313401) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984003)

There is in Japan and western Europe.

Re:I don't understand (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984151)

Not so much a baby shortage as a baby distribution issue. Same with food, water, and most other essentials. We have enough for everyone, it's just some places have so much they waste it whereas other places have severe shortages.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984221)

Unless the world's population is dropping, there is no baby shortage. Just because they are not being born where you like doesn't mean there is a real problem.

International adoption (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984587)

In that case, the real problem is the inefficiency of international adoption.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984173)

Depends on who you ask. Non-hispanic white Americans are being squeezed more and more demographically by minorities and immigration.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984175)

Yes. For women who cant carry to term.

You might as well ask "is there a people shortage that we should be concerned about?" whenever anyone brings up cancer research.

Re:I don't understand (1)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984179)

No shortage of babies, just a shortage of parents who are willing to go through the bureaucratic hell that is adoption so that they could raise someone else's kid.

Re:I don't understand (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984315)

Nope, still wrong. Plenty of parents are willing to adopt, as proof look at foreign adoptions. What almost nobody wants is to adopt a kid more than a few months old. Hence the giant foster care system. But for babies supply of parents far exceeds supply of children.

Not that there isn't some use for this device. I'm thinking for women who can't safely carry to term, they could have the baby moved to an artificial womb. Other than that it's a toy for very rich people who want to have a kid with their DNA but don't want to actually be pregnant- think trophy wives.

Re:I don't understand (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984385)

If it were cheap enough I would think all women would want to go this route. Pregnancy takes a huge toll on a woman's body and health. Even worse are the possible complications. People still die in childbirth.

Re:I don't understand (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984589)

I wouldn't expect it to get cheap enough. I also worry about negative side effects. Immunity comes to mind immediately- babies get some immunity from the mother's blood to common illnesses, what would the effect of missing that be long term?

Re:I don't understand (2)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984571)

Nope, still wrong. Plenty of parents are willing to adopt, as proof look at foreign adoptions. What almost nobody wants is to adopt a kid more than a few months old. Hence the giant foster care system. But for babies supply of parents far exceeds supply of children.

My wife and I have looked into either foster care or adopting older children, the big roadblock for us was all the rules & regulations. For instance, they wanted us to have a fire escape added to our house since the extra rooms we have are on the second floor. We can't afford to make those kinds of modification to our house AND take on a couple of extra children.

Re:I don't understand (3, Funny)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984249)

Is there a baby shortage we should be concerned about?

No, but the lead times are terrible. If this is successful, you could

A) Order a baby, and if you don't care about it having your genes, get one tomorrow.

or B)Special order one of your own and wait 9 months without the hassle in-between.

Really, with places like Amazon having a very good handle on expected demand and logistics, we could see babies available via Prime shipping by 2050.

Almost... (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983981)

Forget the artificial womb, who's working on an artificial vagina?

Re:Almost... (2)

HexaByte (817350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984119)

Of course, this being Slashdot, most of the posters here are more worried about that than the womb. How else would they ever conceive?

Farmers use them (1, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984123)

who's working on an artificial vagina?

Farmers use them to collect sperm for artificial insemination.

When it comes to human use though, I hear a real one is better. Of course this being "news for nerds" nobody reading this has ever seen a real one since the day we were born. From the looks of things, Slashdotters born 50 years from now will go their whole lives never seeing one.

Medical research is a good thing. (4, Interesting)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41983983)

My first born son has been in the hospital for the last three months. He was born a little early. Let's just say that I'm open to the idea of not going through that again.

Re:Medical research is a good thing. (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984089)

I hear ya. My first was rough on my wife and she can't safely carry again, all the clone-army jokes aside this is awesome science.

Re:Medical research is a good thing. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984095)

Indeed. It'd be nice not to worry about premature birth, C sections(required or elective), split perineums, or even just carrying a watermelon around for months.

Even better, no longer needed to have a uterine lining shed every month. Clone it, freeze the sample for later, and then burn that fucker out. No "red tides", no accidental pregnancy, reduced cancer risks. Awesome.

Finally, a solution to abortion politics (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984007)

If a government wants to prohibit abortion, they can just require that she give up her embryo or fetus for adoption when she terminates the pregnancy, with the state picking up the tab over and above the cost of an abortion.

This assumes, of course, that removing the embryo or fetus in a way that allows transplant to an artificial womb doesn't put the mother at a greater health risk than an abortion.

Re:Finally, a solution to abortion politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984367)

The embryo probably has to be put to the artificial womb before it attaches to the wall of the uterus. What I wonder about is the role of various viruses in the process and the lack of those viruses in an artificial environment.
  Also the epigenetic effects in the artificial environment would be lacking. That could be a positive or a negative thing, depending of the environment the mother lives in.

Re:Finally, a solution to abortion politics (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984569)

I wanted to post something like this.

I think you're right -- assuming that the embryo or fetus can be transplanted from a biological to an artificial womb, this should be a legitimate solution to the abortion politics problem. The woman would be able to stop carrying her pregnancy at any time. The Church no longer needs to be worried about the destruction of life. Abortion could be outlawed in favor of this other measure, consistent with pro-life views.

We'll see how far this technology goes.

Cold World (5, Insightful)

concealment (2447304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984017)

Born in a test tube.

Nurtured in a plastic womb.

Raised by a telescreen.

Now another soldier for democracy, freedom and the American way...

Re:Cold World (2)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984121)

My kid's to be an only child because my wife can't carry again, there is distinct good for people this science can create.

Re:Cold World (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984529)

While I empathize with you and your wife's situation, your child does not have to be an only child because adoption exists and if you insist on a biological sibling, there is IFV with a surrogate that would be 10s of thousands of dollars less expensive than this if it is ever commercially available. The only thing this replaces is the need for a surrogate, the rest of the process is the same and available today.

Re:Cold World (1)

ApplePy (2703131) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984291)

I wish we could mod you up to a +5 Cynical!

It's pretty much true already, except the first two steps are a little more allegory than reality so far.

Re:Cold World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984353)

Burma Shave?

Just wait for the politics of this to hit the fan. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984023)

Consider, female is pregnant & wants to abort her fetus, but the male sues to have custody of the fetus turned over to him since he can implant it into an artificial womb..

In a society where pregnancy can occur entirely outside of the human body, what will happen for abortion rights, custody disputes, etc.

All kinds of social, ethical and legal landmines waiting in that Pandora's box.

Re:Just wait for the politics of this to hit the f (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984195)

Yes, all kinds of social, ethical, and legal landmines waiting, just like every other biomedical advance in history.

De-evolution (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984037)

but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?

This will be primarily used by those who can not conceive and those who cannot carry to term. That would be a huge intervention in the evolutionary process, as those are the people we DON'T want to reproduce.

Re:De-evolution (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984203)

Why, exactly, do we not WANT them to reproduce? There are some genetic traits that affect reproduction as well as other systems that may be desirable to not pass on, but there are plenty of genetic reproduction issues that otherwise have no effect on the person. Why shouldn't they be allowed to pass those on? What about people who can't reproduce because of a surgery, accident, etc completely unrelated to genetics?

We left "natural" evolution a long time ago... many thousands of years. And we forced dogs, cows, chickens and countless other species to do the same when we started selectively breeding them. This is just one more step down the same old road.

Re:De-evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984225)

Why, exactly, don't we want those people to reproduce?

Re:those who cannot reproduce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984239)

Many farm crops are bred specifically so that they can't reproduce sexually on their own. Why would it be any more wrong to do this to humans?

Re:De-evolution (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984265)

Says who?

What exactly is anymore wrong with needing a machine to reproduce than needing cooking to eat?

We humans have moved most of our digestive system into technology, why not this too?

Re:De-evolution (3, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984507)

We humans have moved most of our digestive system into technology, why not this too?

I'm not sure what restaurants you eat out at, but remind me never to have dinner at your place.

Re:De-evolution (3, Informative)

frinsore (153020) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984271)

Your argument is a few decades late. Instead of having a surrogate mother carry the child to term now a tank "carries" the child to term.

Re:De-evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984435)

Are we not men?

Re:De-evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984485)

but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?

This will be primarily used by those who can not conceive and those who cannot carry to term. That would be a huge intervention in the evolutionary process, as those are the people we DON'T want to reproduce.

You have a flawed understanding of evolution. If a species develops a trait to the point that it makes other traits irrelevant to its survival, that is the very definition of evolutionary progress. In this case, evolution of mental faculties has reduced the usefulness of particular reproductive traits. Your error in logic comes from divorcing mankind's technical progress from its evolutionary journey. I fully expect a future where the immune system also becomes less important as technology takes over for it. At a certain point technology will become as coupled to humanities existence as water is to a fish's. Whether that is a good evolutionary step remains to be seen, but it would be foolish to argue it isn't a step.

Even affordable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984045)

is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?

To "the majority of the Earth's population" it won't matter whether it's affordable or not, as they'll never ever need this. It will only matter for the select few who want children and a natural womb is unavailable for whatever reason. High pricing will act as deterrent to abuse the technology for things such as clone armies or slave breeding, so if it's expensive, that might actually be a good thing.

Re:Even affordable? (0)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984191)

High pricing will act as deterrent to abuse the technology for things such as clone armies

Right. because we all know how budget conscious the pentagon is. This is exactly the first place I'd expect to see widespread use of this technology.

Re:Even affordable? (3, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984479)

By the time you "make" the clones, raise them, educate them, train them, the cost would be astronomical for an army or any worthwhile force. Plus, new soldiers would be at least 16 years out, to be generous.

Meanwhile you can crank out robots by the truckload for a fraction of the cost. They have much simpler logistical requirements in terms of food, housing, and other amenities. More durable, better endurance, can be repaired. We're a lot closer to robot soldiers than clone soldiers too.
=Smidge=

Transgender Heaven (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984069)

Best estimates suggest that transgender people form between 1-4% of the worlds population. Artificial wombs would create a lot of happy people and help counter some of the prejudice and forced sterilisation imposed on transgenders by many of the more backward health professionals. If I may dangle the carrot transgenders are a potential trillion dollar economy worldwide so not a small market to aim for.

Of all the- (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984071)

Really? Artificial wombs, FFS? Look around you, Dr. Fertility. The natural wombs are pumping out product at a terrifyingly prodigious rate with no help from you. Maybe you can work on some other organ that we maybe need to stay alive or something?

Re:Of all the- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984313)

The natural wombs are pumping out product at a terrifyingly prodigious rate

Except they're not, [forbes.com] except in third world countries where the only recreational activity is fucking.

The US is slightly below the stable "replacement" rate of ~2.1 children per couple, at 2.0. Many European countries are SIGNIFCANTLY below the replacement rate, in the 1-1.8 range. Our population is rapidly aging, and barely replenishing itself, much less growing. A technology that would allow some of the women who WANT to reproduce but cannot might change that dynamic.

Re:Of all the- (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984555)

The natural wombs are pumping out product at a terrifyingly prodigious rate

Except they're not, [forbes.com] except in third world countries where the only recreational activity is fucking.

The US is slightly below the stable "replacement" rate of ~2.1 children per couple, at 2.0. Many European countries are SIGNIFCANTLY below the replacement rate, in the 1-1.8 range. Our population is rapidly aging, and barely replenishing itself, much less growing. A technology that would allow some of the women who WANT to reproduce but cannot might change that dynamic.

I doubt that the low birth rates in the U.S. and Europe are due to women who want to have children but can't. It's much more likely due to women who don't want to have children having the means to prevent conception.

Not alive of course (-1, Troll)

gnu-sucks (561404) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984129)

But of course, if we grow humans in an artificial womb, they wouldn't really alive until we take them out at the end of the 9-month procedure, right?

living + human != legal person (4, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984299)

But of course, if we grow humans in an artificial womb, they wouldn't really alive until we take them out at the end of the 9-month procedure, right?

If you are referring to abortion poltics, the term you are looking for is "legal person."

There is no question that a zygote is biologically human and biologically alive.

Legal person-hood is another matter. This is granted - and taken away - by the common consensus of society or in some cases, the edict of a government or dictator that doesn't reflect the consensus of society. Even ignoring "artificial legal persons" like corporations, a society can grant legal personhood - the state of having the rights of a living person - on sufficiently-intelligent animals or non-earth-originated sentient aliens or even sentient human-created life forms (e.g. computer programs, androids, etc.) if it wants to. If it wants to, it can also take away or deny the personhood of living humans who are too young (e.g. not born yet, or not old enough to be more self-aware than non-human animals), or severely mentally retarded or severely brain-damaged. We can also take away personhood by declaring someone dead even if they are still breathing. Most Western countries do this today when they declare someone "brain dead" if their autonomic systems are working but there is no other brain function.

By the way, I am NOT advocating denying anyone who has already been born the status of "person" for reasons of mental or physical incapacity short of brain death. If the society I live in makes this a common practice, I'll probably move.

Re:Not alive of course (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984309)

Why would you say that?

I would think though this could nearly eliminate unwanted pregnancy. Everyone can be on birth control and enter into a legal binding contract when they want to order a child.

Equal rights, equal treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984153)

Hm... I've known an unfortunate amount of misandrists in my day. Full-on, too, complete with being willing, able, and eager to, in any conversation, tell any male they're talking to that all men are useless as soon as they invent artificial sperm, with all the seriousness and conviction that implies they're desperately TRYING to do so, entirely without a hint of irony in their words, voice, or expression.

I can imagine these people being none-too-happy with this development. And I'd simply LOVE to be the one who tells them as such, just to see the looks on their faces.

(and yes, "full-on" includes the standard-issue "claims to be a feminist without knowing the first thing about the feminism movement, solely using it as a shield or excuse for legitimate misandry")

The window of opportunity, wave it bye-bye. (-1, Troll)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984215)

How far, exactly, do you think a lot of socialist or peace movements would have gotten without women? Woman always got in the way with her morals and silly empathy. So they need to be routed around -- that's what this is about, and it's ALL this is about. There I suggest murdering every single one of the pathetic fuckers involved in this research, and not in a tongue-in-cheek way either.

Fuck anonymity; I wanna go down in record as someone who said "fuck no" in no unclear terms. I've been expecting this for over a decade, and I'm not surprised in the least; just disappointed about the lack of killing so far. Get on it.

Re:The window of opportunity, wave it bye-bye. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984339)

You need to take your medicine. Clearly it wore off.

This is the next generation in fertility treatments, not some way to eliminate the female sex.

Re:The window of opportunity, wave it bye-bye. (1)

Zordak (123132) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984511)

Also, you still need eggs. Nobody is claiming to be "twenty years out" from that right now.

not a wonderful idea (1)

markhahn (122033) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984223)

we don't know that much about early human development, though it's pretty clearly not simple (more like chaotic). without knowing which sensory inputs are important to healthy development, an artificial womb would need to attempt to replicate them all. heck, there are plenty of substances that cross the placenta, and most of them would need to be emulated too.

in other words, producing a mouse-like mouse from an artificial mouse womb is rather different from doing it with humans...

Why? (1)

flightmaker (1844046) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984295)

Given that we have already over populated planet Earth, WHY THE HELL DOES ANYBODY WANT TO COME UP WITH A WAY OF MAKING MORE OF US? Are they bloody stupid? Can't they think of something useful to do with their ingenuity?

Wrong kinds of babies .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984297)

The author of the article seems to believe that birth via artificial wombs could become the new norm, but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?

But ... those are poor brown babies, and we already have too many of those. The world needs more rich white babies.

Who else do you think is going to be able to afford an artificial womb?

Wrong question (2)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984323)

"[I]s it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?"

Clearly, no. But this is beside the point. Maybe it will be one day. And in the much nearer future, it will be just the thing we will turn to because we start having ethical problems with renting the wombs of poor women in India who presently serve as surrogates for fertility-challenged rich couples.

But for me, the real sci-fi potential of this technology is in interstellar colonization. The idea is that frozen genetic material can survive a long trip much better than any living organism, especially if we're talking about slow trips that might take centuries. However, with proper shielding and error control, a lab that can produce artificial wombs and gestate babies should be much easier, technologically. I'm guessing that by the end of this century, all the pieces will be in place: An artificial womb, an AI that can operate it, correct preservation techniques, and an AI parenting program that does a more ethical job of parenting that many human parents who are still allowed to keep their kids. That, together with AI school, basically makes for a highly portable civilization reproduction package. Only the first generation would need to be raised by pure technology, although I'm sure that since they have the technology, they would want to keep using it to grow the size of the colony and add to their genetic diversity.

good questions at end of summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41984439)

why do this? as if we don't have enough people on the planet.
"hmm...i've got some research money. i'll do this. they pharmacorps will jump to hire me so they can get rich selling this shit to rich old men that want an heir without an heiress. meanwhile, i'll get rich from the buttloads of money they pay me. winning!"

Breast Milk (1)

Cockatrice_hunter (1777856) | about a year and a half ago | (#41984473)

Would we then have to create artificial breasts to produce milk, or take hormone supplements for those women who wish to give their childeren breast milk? Or would, in a world where artificial wombs are the norm, milk mothers make a return and become an industry?

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