Jan 25 2012

Pregnancy outside the womb

Published by at 2:45 pm

An item published earlier this week on LifeSite News announced that a UK academic was arguing in favour of ectogenesis (pregnancy outside the womb).

My initial reaction upon reading the LifeSite item – beyond the initial oh my… was that I could probably have poked holes in her arguments when I was a bona fide ethicist myself but recovering as I am from the physical and mental demands of a multiple pregnancy I … wait… did I just prove her point?

I think we should all calm down.

First, all academics, including UK ethicists, are under constant pressure to publish new and innovative material. Arguing in favour of ectogenesis is a little out there but not entirely surprising given this particular ethicist’s research interests. Secondly, the ethicist is a philosopher looking at pregnancy through a sex inequity lens, not a medical doctor announcing upcoming experiments in his newfangled hatchery. I can’t think of a western country who has a healthcare buck to spare on this type of research and experiment, can you? Thirdly, go rent a National Geographic In the Womb video and remind yourself of how wonderfully complicated conception is. Decades of research have only marginally improved outcomes for very premature children. There is very little we can do to replace the womb environment, even for fully formed infants.

Growing a human being from scratch outside the womb? Nice idea (I mean it, I’ve been pregnant seven times) but not a chance.

Medical research and innovation has not been able to beat the flu yet. Let’s not forget that.

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Andrea adds: This is Véronique’s post, for our Facebook readers. In case it isn’t abundantly clear that I have not been pregnant seven times!

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