Monday, February 11, 2002

Those Crazy Scientists

Science fiction becoming science fact, yet again. This time it's artificial wombs.

...So what does this mean to all my myriad readers out there, male and female? I'm honestly interested in comments, here. If of the feminist bent, as the article mentions, are you worried that this will allow men to "obsolete" women from the reproductive process? If of a conservative stripe, since this could make abortion unnecessary, where does this fit on your moral map? How about the potential for an explosion in orphanage/foster-child population in an already-strained foster system?

Since in vitro fertilization has been around for a while, I don't foresee mechanized gestation being too traumatic in terms of the legalities of using the technology, but societally this could be at least as traumatic as Roe v. Wade or even the advent of the Pill. After all, if there's no inconvenience to pregnancy or medically-mandated recovery time after childbirth, on the one hand it makes having children a much less stressful endeavor for families in general and women in particular. On the other hand, the raw biological bond created between a hormonally-charged (and -changed) mother and her newborn is one of the basic tenets of nature. If Mommy's spared the indignities and inconveniences of swollen ankles, back trouble and painful mammaries, then she's also reduced to the role of adoptive parent in all but genetics. Breast-feeding, which has been proven beneficial both to mother in terms of reducing the risk of mammary cancer, and to baby in terms of early weight gain and immune system function, will be nearly impossible without Mom undertaking some sort of hormone regimen to stimulate lactation (does this even exist yet?).

No doubt, a complicated issue, and one with which current prepubescent girls will have to deal once they get to their middle twenties. It's a scary world out there.


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