Artificial wombs: bold science expected by 2025
By Dick Pelletier
In 1923, British scientists JBS Haldane imagined a time when
human pregnancy would disappear. In a presentation at Oxford
University, he prophesied that by 1951, having children will
become a complete out-of-body experience.
Of course, Haldane's timing was wrong, but his vision was
crystal clear. Cornell University’s Dr. Hung-Ching Liu believes
her research will produce a viable artificial mouse womb by
2015, and by as early as 2025 a human model could be achieved.
Experts believe artificial wombs will become commonplace by
the 2030s. Conception could be only a clinical procedure with
sperm and egg merged in the lab, or performed the old-fashioned
way with a night of passionate love, then transferring the
embryo to an artificial womb.
Concerns over losing emotional connection between mother and
newborn are unwarranted, say scientists. Artificial intelligence
advances expected by mid-2020s will enable doctors to duplicate
the exact parent emotions and personalities and continuously
send those feelings 24/7 to the baby.
At stake in adapting this technology is the very meaning of
life. Thoughts of mother-child relationships, the nature of
female bodies, and the significance of being born, not "made"
all play a role in defining life.
Let's say, for example, that artificial wombs evolve to the
point where they become superior to the old-fashioned way of
having babies and more people start preferring them. Babies
would be immune to introductions of alcohol or illegal drugs by
careless mothers. The correct body temperature will always be
maintained and 100% of the daily nutrients will be provided.
Plus, monitoring by an always-on intelligence system guarantees
perfect DNA development of every cell.
People might begin to ask: Why take the risk of gestating my
baby in a biological womb? This new technology will give me a
child that has my exact genetic makeup, a perfect personality,
and zero flaws.
In the near term, experts say, most women will probably
gestate their children the old-fashioned way, but career-minded
females may welcome a new concept that enables them to raise a
family without enduring a pregnancy that often weakens their job
Ultimately, this technology will enable anyone: single,
married, male, female, young, old, heterosexual or gay to
combine DNA from their own body with another person – and the
gene pool marches on. And, there's no morning-sickness to
As this futuristic science matures, people will be able to
freeze their eggs and sperm during their teen years when they
are most physically fit, then create children later in life when
they’re ready to start a family. Artificial wombs may sound too
radical, but when you think about it; people already donate eggs
and sperm to create life in a lab and bring it to term in a
In an unusual twist, this technology offers justification to
pro-lifers in the abortion debates. Choosing an abortion to
protect a mother's health would no longer be necessary.
Artificial wombs could bring all aborted embryos to term, thus
saving countless lives.
Will artificial wombs become commonplace in the 2030s?
Experts believe that they will. This technology seems like the
next logical step as we get closer to what promises to become an
amazing "magical future."
This article appeared in various print publications and
on-line blogs. Comments always welcome.