Artificial Wombs for All…

Artificial Wombs for All…

Ann Bailey

Pregnancy is unethical.  Bet you didn’t know that.  Anna Smajdor, an ethicist at the UK’s University of East Anglia, believes that being pregnant for nine months  and then delivering  the child is too risky, painful and socially restrictive to subject women to it any longer.   Dr. Smajdor believes that large junks of public funding should be immediately directed towards the creation of artificial wombs.  She wonders how men and women can ever be equal if women continue to be subject to pregnancy.

Dr. Smajdor is a leading proponent of ectogensis – “the growth process of embryonic tissue placed in an artificial environment,” or an artificial womb.

 “I suggest that there is a strong case for prioritizing research into ectogenesis as an alternative to pregnancy. I conclude by asking the reader the following: if you did not know whether you would be a man or a woman, would you prefer to be born into Society A, in which women bear all the burdens and risks of pregnancy, or Society B, in which ectogenesis has been perfected.”

In Dr. Smajdor’s world, pregnancy is a disease that medical technology must engineer away because a civilized society would not subject women to it.  “Either we view women as baby carriers who must subjugate their other interests to the well-being of their children or we acknowledge that our social values and level of medical expertise are no longer compatible with “natural” reproduction.”

I decided to talk to women and do my own little unofficial survey on this topic.   So I went straight to the top – so to speak.  I approached my boss, Carol Soelberg, President of United Families International and natural mother of 13 children.  As I explained Dr. Smajdor’s ideas and asked for her opinion, a range of emotions from dismay to disgust quickly went across her face.  Then she quietly said,

“She doesn’t speak for me.  Don’t take from me the joy and the privilege of pregnancy – the chance to give life to a child.  That woman doesn’t speak for me.”

Enough said.

  • Daughter of Eve
    Posted at 21:59h, 26 January

    Just remembering the first time I identified the flutter of “bubbles” in my womb as the movements of my growing first child. I was dumbstruck with joy, completely caught up in the moment, in awe of the majesty of the fact that my body was making and sheltering life. I felt so deeply privileged. Mother with a capital “M.” Nothing can quite compare to that privilege. No artificial womb could give much such a deep feeling of fulfillment and completion as the real thing. Artificial womb? Thanks, but I’ll pass.

  • simply.bekah
    Posted at 03:07h, 27 January

    I second what Daughter of Eve said. The enormously overwhelming feeling of emotion I had when I first saw the blinking dot that was my daughter’s heartbeat on the sonogram…or the first time I felt her move. Even the months upon months of all-the-time sickness…I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It was profound and deeply humbling to be so responsible for growing and bringing into the world a precious baby. I know that, for many, motherhood is a different path. But for me? I’ll keep the pain and discomfort and indescribable joy that is carrying my own child in my womb. Being a mother is not just something that happened to me, it’s a part of me. No one can take that away. 🙂

    Really interesting post. I had no idea that this was something people were exploring.

  • simply.bekah
    Posted at 03:09h, 27 January

    Reblogged this on simplybekah and commented:
    “Pregnancy is unethical. How can men and women ever be equal if women continue to be subject to pregnancy?”

    I am more than a little bit disturbed by this. What are your thoughts? For me, carrying my own child was a labor of love, with a fair amount of hardship, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Your thoughts?

  • Tammy
    Posted at 11:26h, 27 January

    Wow. Artificial?! Women were created to BE the carriers – it one of the many things that makes us unique.

  • Rob lawson
    Posted at 19:57h, 27 January

    Thumbs Down to this bill shit

  • Julie Rooks
    Posted at 10:15h, 28 January

    I agree with Carol Soelberg! Dr. Smajdor’s doesn’t speak for me either! I remember the excitement and wonder of feeling each of my babies kick in my womb and being amazed at the miracle of life. It is a blessing and privilege to become a mother. I am very grateful for the honor. It is sad that Dr. Smajdor doesn’t realize this and wants to take it away. What is she thinking?

  • Meagan
    Posted at 22:35h, 30 January

    I’m going to bet that babies raised in artificial wombs, would have serious health problems compared to their naturally-raised counterparts, it might be too bright, it wouldn’t provide the movement and sounds they need, the food wouldn’t have been properly digested and gone through a filter as good as the placenta, the baby would probably be born at a time that wasn’t right for it, I could go on and on! Ms. Smajdor isn’t even considering the ethics of that.

  • Michelle Solomon
    Posted at 07:30h, 01 March

    I’m turning 50 years old in a few months, and am honored and privileged to be carrying my eleventh child. My heart aches for women who are so hardened as to develop artificial feelings as Dr. Smajdor has.

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