Artificial Womb Technology
I am considering writing a science fiction story in which the successful application of artificial womb technology is a major setting/plot point.
For those of you who don't know, what I'm referring to is a technology that's been under development for a while which will allow for a fetus at early stages in a pregnancy to be removed from its mother's womb and placed in a machine which will act as the replacement womb so the fetus can grow and develop the rest of the way.
So, with that in mind, I was wondering if anyone knew of any side-effects that such a technology would be likely to have. Also, in what ways could this technology be abused? I'm not so much asking about the social ramifications of such a technology, I'm hoping to get people's view on the scientific and biological aspects of this tech.
Any help you can offer will be very much appreciated.
Nicholas S. Casale
- Really messed up idea but cannibalism. Perhaps some people steal them and eat the fetus as some weird delicacy
- Injecting the artificial wombs for human testing
- Lack of human bonding as the baby is not inside the mother
And now I just read that you asked what it would likely have, I'm not really science-savvy so oops, hope those help you at all for your story.
Baby animals (including humans) are generally quite resilient though; if they get cared for by an adoptive parent after they are born, that would outweigh and correct many potential problems, and on the other hand, if they don't get cared for by a parent-figure, that can cause psychological problems.
then there u know, mass produced babies for war, organ harvesting, tribute to evil overlords. meh just some stuff on my mind
The first is about positives and negatives regarding the baby once it is removed:
- extremely healthy / problems with the immune system;
- overdeveloped once born / problems with the development;
- increased mental capacity because of reasons / reduced mental capacity (learning new skills, brain defects, etc.);
- can bond very fast with others like them once born / cannot bond with people once they grow;
- perfect physiology (uber human) / deformities due to lack of either proper or specific requirements that cannot be provided by the artificial womb;
- mutations (can be both good or bad depending on how you approach it).
The second way you can look at it is regarding the mother (this gets a bit tricky in terms of pros and cons):
- no maternal instincts (no one can take care of newborns in the long run);
- happy women because they do not need to experience the negatives of being pregnant / severe depression in women because they cannot experience proper pregnancy;
- women develop greater skills because of the way the fetus is removed (i.e. mental strength, hormone change, etc.) / women become feral or bestial in rare cases;
These are just the main ideas I can think of. There are also ways to combine from both sides, but that would all depend on what you want to do with your story. You could always focus on short, mid- and long-term changes in society or the individual, as I am sure there could be some interesting ideas to explore there as well.
Hope this helps
It wouldn't be difficult to hook up a small heart rate monitor with a small microphone to a mother to cover the sound and heartbeat issue. Irregular feedings would just be a matter of setting a timer. Day night could be handled with a hood that raises and lowers over the tank or whatever. There isn't a specific reason to think that a woman wouldn't be able to care for a child just because she didn't carry it physically, adoptive parents prove that. Also this tech would be usable with artificial insemination practices so removing a fetus from a body wouldn't be a requirement though it would be an efficient emergency measure in the event of injury or health complication. Just saying, a lot of the suggested issues so far have easy mechanical fixes. Watch out for stuff like that, readers pick up on it quick.
It wasn't direct genetic manipulation driven, what they did was combine selected male and female genetics together for higher probabilities of certain traits on a eugenics basis. Failed combinations would be culled, while successes could have their personal genetics added to the database so that their personal bloodline would continue. They were brainwashed to seek glory and excellence in their caste as a means of reproduction, an entire replacement of the natural system that was seen by most as an abomination. They had some rather physically divergent traits much like breeds of animals after a while. Battlemech pilots were different from power armor soldiers, who were different from aerospace pilots, who were different from scientists, etc.
You don't need to go that hardcore if you have those, but the '70s and '80s is rife with this kind of stuff. Check out speculative fiction from around when cloning and DNA was becoming popularized, that was the full heyday of artificial wombs as a major plot point.