Recent Advances in Developing Artificial Uteruses -- Guest Article
Recent Advances in Developing Artificial Uterusesby Kathy Wilson
One of the biggest miracles we see every day is the ability to create human life – the conception and birth of a baby is a wondrous happening that the human brain will never be able to completely replicate artificially. Even so, great strides have been made in boosting fertility and aiding conception through advances in the medical field, the artificial uterus being one such pioneering effort. We’ve all heard of assisted reproductive techniques like artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization and even other more complicated procedures like ICSI and GIFT. But an artificial uterus is a relatively unheard of concept, one that is only just gaining steam.
It’s only a prototype now, but a working one that shows promise and possibility. Scientists and researchers at the Cornell University's Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility have succeeded in taking cells from the endometrium, the lining of the womb, and growing them in a lab using hormones and other growth factors. Tests have already been run using fetuses not used in IVF procedures, and they have shown that they’re able to attach themselves to the lining of the artificial womb. Further trials will prove the viability of this concept, but for now, the researchers are limited by IVF regulations.
Ethical aspects raise their ugly head and threaten to prevent progress in this field; on the one hand, you have abortion issues – while women are permitted to undergo an abortion legally now because the fetus is within their bodies, when they’re outside and growing in an artificial womb, will abortion amount to murder? Also, artificial wombs when combined with cloning technology are conceptually capable of allowing reproduction without involving the female factor. How far will people go to exploit this if it becomes a reality?
Artificial uteruses benefit women in more ways than just helping those with damaged and faulty uteruses conceive and take home children of their own genes – they aid professional women by allowing them to continue working without having to take time off for the pregnancy, and they are deemed to be safer environments because they are not affected by any adverse reactions (like stress and side-effects caused by drugs and alcohol) in the mother’s body.
But then, what happens to the concept of motherhood as we know it? Is the bonding of mother and child not important at all in the larger scheme of things? Artificial uteruses are ok for women who cannot conceive because they have no uteruses or damaged ones; but for the rest who are looking for a “convenient” pregnancy, ethical questions must be raised and answered before they’re allowed to do as they please.
This guest post is contributed by Kathy Wilson, who writes on the topic of x ray technician school programs . She welcomes your comments at her email id: email@example.com