Not sure whether to put this here or in GD, but this is more factual than anything, so here goes.
Abortion is a major issue. Some say it takes lives. So why have scientists not tried to invent an artificial womb? You could take the fetus out of the woman, stick it in the artificial womb, and set the timer to however many months. After that period, presto, you have a baby. I imagine the main difficulty would be keeping the baby alive while transferring it.
But I’ve never even heard of any attempt to invent this. Have I just not heard about it? Or is there something fundamentally impossible about it?
It probably isn’t absolutely impossible, just so bloody difficult that it might as well be; having said that, there are probably teams working on it, or parts of the technology required.
I think it is perhaps a little too easy to underestimate the complexity of what goes on during pregnancy; a functioning artificial womb would be about on the same level of technological difficulty and delicacy as an artificial, fully-sustaining prosthetic body for victims of accidental decapitation.
WAG here, The Scientists (not regular folks, mind you) can and do freeze embryos. But the difference is that those emryos are created on purpose and have not implanted in a uterus. Aborted chilluns have implanted, which is one of the ways you find out that you need an abortion. To get the thing out would likely require excising a chunk of uterus along with the embryo, freezing it, thawing it and then reattaching the whole schmear (technical jargon) in such a way that the embryo would not suffer oxygen deprivation. Not to mention the problems of thawing living things in general.
I’m having trouble thinking of examples where The Scientists were motivated by solving a social problem as opposed to seeking to understand stuff that matters
Some women have abortions because they “can’t live knowing that they have a child somewhere out there.” Transferring the baby to another womb wouldn’t put that excuse to death so I imagine abortions would still continue.
But whos going to pay for all of the artifical wombs and then care for the live babies? A lot ( by no means all ) of the Anti-Choice people I have run into could give 2 shits about the babies once they are born, all they care about is getting them born in the first place. I have noticed no groundswell amongst these people to step up and offer financial support for the mother and a commitment to raise the baby themselves if the mother dosen’t abort, they just don’t want the abortion done at all. After the baby is born, to them it’s somebody else’s problem.
The problem is actually related to a common misconception about human DNA being the “blueprint” of a human being (ditto for other creatures), as if it were sufficient unto itself to produce a person.
Actually, the DNA of the embryo (term used as shorthand – other stages are implicit) is primarily responsible for triggering the production of protiens in a correct sequence. This process is inextricably linked to reactions in the mother’s body. There’s a dialog here.
Metaphorically speaking, human DNA is not a blueprint for building a human in isolation, but rather a set of instructions that guides the assembly line. Remove the assembly line and warehouse, and the process falls apart.
Myself and a friend were talking about the number of cats I caught bonking in our garden, at least two of them were someone’s pets. Their excuse for not getting their cats spayed is “well it might get run over by a car the next day” (ie waste of money). I said “Feck it they should spay the bleedin’ owners!” [kidding] but we got into a deep discussion on the subject of en masse sterilisation [reversable] of all humans [male & female] of child producing age, so that if you wanted to have a baby you’d have to take a “conception pill” …
Also, never forget the amount of money invested every year in the issue of abortion. From doctors to legislators all the way down to the smallest organization looking for the next contribution. There’s just too much money involved to solve the whole problem.
Yes. Huxley wrote of a society where no human females got pregnant, “Mother” was a dirty word (so was “Father,” so don’t laugh) and sex was without guilt or reproductive consequences. All fetuses were raised in jars and their environment, nutrition and chemical composition was controlled so the resulting “class” of human had the desired characteristics; laborers didn’t need fancy brains, for example.
An artificial womb wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem of children conceived of rape. How do you raise a child from an artificial womb and tell it that its mother abandoned it and its father was a rapist?