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Reproduction Without Pregnancy? What Will They Think Of Next?
The Guardian reports:
A team of Israeli scientists announced the mother of all inventions last week. Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science revealed in the journal Nature that they had successfully gestated hundreds of mice inside an artificial womb. They placed newly fertilised eggs inside glass vials rotating in a ventilated incubator, and grew the embryos for 11 days – the mid-point of a mouse pregnancy – outside their mothers’ bodies. The embryos developed normally; their hearts, visible through the glass vials, pounded steadily at 170 beats per minute.
The mice were no bigger than sunflower seeds, but what they represent is enormous: the breakthrough brings us one step closer to reproduction without pregnancy. The division of labour in gestation is the most intractable imbalance between the sexes. Men only have to contribute a single cell to make a baby, whereas women carry their children for nine months and give birth, sometimes risking their bodies and often risking their careers, in a world of work built largely by men. An artificial womb would mean complete reproductive parity between the sexes: all anyone needs to do is throw in their gametes and the rest is taken care of. But this equality could come at great cost to women. This is radically disruptive technology, and with every new development we are sleepwalking into a world of tough ethical choices.
Mind you, I am no theologian, but something tells me that this is an unholy idea. Aren’t we women supposed to accept labor pains as a basic act of participation in our redemption? It’s definitely something to think about.
I would love to hear your thoughts about it in the comment section on the blog or as an audio message with the “Message” button on the podcast page.
PHOTO CREDIT: kambodza
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