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Artificial Womb used successfully on Lambs


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#1 sierraleone

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 08:41 PM

They have created an artificial womb for premature lambs fetuses, and from what I understand it basically works for fetuses right at/around the cusp of viability (around 23-26 weeks in human gestation), but not earlier.

Here is the Reuters article:

http://www.reuters.c...b-idUSKBN17R1YY

Edited by sierraleone, 29 April 2017 - 08:41 PM.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#2 Omega

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 08:46 PM

I've been waiting on this for a long time.

Both sides of the abortion issue tell a lot of lies. Pro-lifers say the law treats the unborn as if they have no rights. Pro-choicers (often) say the unborn are not human and thus have no rights.

The reality is that both are wrong. The mother has a right to control her body. But the unborn are living humans with a right to continue living. The problem is that these rights are in conflict, and a line has to be drawn somewhere, because we live in a world that sucks. No matter where the law lands, millions of people get screwed. And both sides want to yell and cheer because they picked the right people to screw over? Rending your garments is the correct response!

Artificial wombs change everything. Mother wants to control her body? No problem. Artificial womb, right this way!

#3 sierraleone

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 10:13 PM

View PostOmega, on 30 April 2017 - 08:46 PM, said:

Artificial wombs change everything. Mother wants to control her body? No problem. Artificial womb, right this way!

I don't think it does, at least not so glibly or simply. (I don't mean glibly at an insult, it is just that such a comment or sentiment tries to boil down too much a very knotty problem.

I am just saying it is not just about control over her body. Have you heard of the post-WW2 baby scoop era? These women didn't have a choice over whether to carry to term or not, but then were pressured to give up their children for adoption. Once there is an actual child some women will feel differently, for all sorts of reasons. That doesn't necessary mean that if they were able to make a decision earlier about parenthood that a decision in favour of abortion was wrong, we muddle through the life and deal with the situation in front of us as best we can. Part of the human condition.

Similar to how women surrogates may have developed strong feelings about the child(ren) they are carrying and will sometimes go against the genetic/intended parent(s) wishes when it comes to abortion despite a contract (in cases of disability, or higher multiples), or, in rarer cases, giving up the child once it is born.

I remember reading recently about a Montreal couple who aborted in the 3rd trimester. Found the article. They had trouble finding a doctor, so their story got out there, and there was a lot of flak and push back. The 20 week scan was fine, but at 7 months a scan showed the baby as having skeletal malformations and was abnormally small. It was a rare disease, may require operations, and doctors told her her child might never walk. So serious disability at the very least. The article didn't say anything about life expectancy, or even the conditions name, but I sincerely doubt this would be a condition considered incompatible with life. She went through with an abortion at 30 weeks, after she found a doctor/facility that would do it.

The couple received a lot of public back-lash, and many saying, at that point, why not carry to term (or, in the future, use this technology, would be an argument), and give the child up for adoption? Heck, some doctors schedule c-sections at 37 weeks (full term being 40 weeks). So, what was her argument for abortion? What made her heart decide this was the right thing to do? She knew that, whether she kept the newborn or let it be adopted (or put into foster care), that the child would suffer. And she couldn't bear to think that her child might suffer, regardless of who it called mom and/or dad.

More women feel loss about giving their children up for adoption than having an abortion. Not saying that that is a good sole reason why to allow abortion, just that it is complicated.

I have done respite fostering. I don't think going down the road of just separating fetuses from their natal-mothers is an easy ethical choice or many reasons. I want children to come into the world wanted (and wanted does not equal planned, its about the decision after the pregnancy is confirmed). I know many children languish in foster care.

I've read that 5% of women who have an abortion experience regret. In this article, but an adoption professional, she(? - Randie) sites a study that says 75% of women who give up their baby for adoption experience feelings of loss (and presumably regret) even as far as 15-20 years later (I don't know if the study went on longer than that or not).

~1 in 3 women have an abortion in their life time, so ~1 in 4 women will be dealing with a sense of loss.
~1 in 5 pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) ended in abortion in the U.S. in 2014. So ~1 in 5 people will have been either been given up to foster-care/orphanages/adoption, or kept by parent(s) ill-equipped to care for them, on top of whichever numbers there were before.

It seems often people think about these abstract cute little babies. But those cute little babies require a lot of resources to care for them once born, to ensure their proper physical, mental, socio-emotional, development. Children should have access to parent(s) (or guardian(s)), who are willing and able to provide them.

~1 in 5 pregnancies end in abortion instead of a live birth… Abortion rates has been going down, probably due to more reliable and consistent use of birth control, so it may be lower now.
In 2013, reported to the CDC, was 664,435 legal abortions.

In the scenario you are hoping for, here are the most probably results of such of those ~half a million or more pregnancies that used to end in legal abortion.
- More illegal abortions
- More women keep children they are ill-equipped to care for.
- More women pressured to give up their children for adoption that they'd rather not do.
- More children in foster care and/or orphanages.
- More adults with mental health issues, and/or dysfunctional behaviours, as these children grow up.
- If we are talking about artificial wombs for all 9 months, the need for adoption will go down as more women with fertility issues choose ectogenesis instead of adoption (heck, already happens with surrogacy).

I see negative results as of all of these. Illegal abortions will not be regulated, and will be unsafe. More children neglected and/or abused in their natal home. More children will be neglect and/or abused outside of their natal home as the quality of adoptive/foster homes goes down with the large volume of workload on social workers, with standards and/or oversight diminishing. And seeing what happens to kids in neighbouring poor families and/or kids in foster care, that is something prospective mother may not want for their child, and want to avoid.

These are complex problems requiring complex solutions. We are better off addressing these issues through comprehensive sex-ed, access to birth control, and finding solutions to structural/systematic barriers to people raising families (income inequality, parental-leave, childcare, among many others). Though many in the pro-life movement are opposed to those.

I don't know that we'd be better off separating pregnancy from biology, as it just seems to create new issues. Which are not that different from the old issues, but people don't like to talk about them. Certain segments of society would rather blame women, or poor families, for their having sex and their poverty and perceived mooching off of society. Of course, the counter argument, that some pro-life people make, is similar to mine, though they say abortion is not the solution, that we should do more to help parents. That doesn't really help someone who is facing an unplanned pregnancy right now though.

This doesn't even get into the issue of women not wanting to have a child with the father. Maybe due to abuse, maybe just because they are not parental material or they don't see a future with him. And presumably in an outcome where she can't privately have an abortion, I would assume the father would be informed and would have the ability to get custody. Which may be a win for some children (not just because they were not aborted, but because they end up with good or great fathers). But the woman who is in an abusive relationship, the picture is not so rosy for her or her child. (I know for sure some would argue that the odd woman trap men with children they don't want now, I understand the argument, but do we really want to add to problem with more opportunities to do so, more than biology does already?).

Human life is messy and not clear cut. I don't know that artificial wombs make it more clear cut.

How do we ensure the children who are unplanned and/or unwanted in this scenario have access to guardian(s) that are willing and able to ensure that the child's physical, mental, socio-emotional, developmental needs are met?



ETA: I just also thought, if the rate of abortion remains relatively unchanged, and they have this artificial womb, even if it is only used on fetuses after ~22 weeks….  Assuming you didn't make them vacate the artificial womb early, and gave them 18 weeks in there to get them to "term"…  Thats about 1/3 of the year. The 664,435 abortions done in 2013 would have required at least 221,478 of these artificial wombs (not including the ones needed for premature babies) if abortion was outlawed and this was the only way to stop the women's pregnancy early. And who covers the cost of the staff and equipment and medicine for this? I can't see the women's health insurance volunteering to covering the prenatal costs after separation, if she is giving up her parental rights.

Also, if removing a fetus at bare viability (22-26 weeks) is the earliest of what is feasible, I don't think that would be a simple straight forward procedure for the woman. That would either be labour & delivery or a c-section (major surgery), and all that those, and their risks, entail. And an earlier procedure would also have its issues and dangers. I presume a labour and delivery would not be desirable, due to possibly complications and/or wanting to get the fetus into the artificial womb quickly. I don't see how this could be done without surgery. *Maybe* early in the pregnancy when the embryo is really small they could dilate the cervix and use tools that won't harm the fetus but can extract it from the womb through the dilated cervix? Neither sounds participate fun or easy, but I guess their what their similarity  or difference in experience to, and/or risks of, an early abortion would be a more reasonable comparison. If we are going to go artificial wombs we might as well do the whole thing in there and just make people apply for licenses for parenthood ;)

I did see one person say it should be called an advanced incubator. I see their point. Basically a child's first couple breaths of air stop any further development of their lungs, which is why it is so problematic for a child to be born near viability as their lungs have not developed sufficiently. So, it is a way to "ventilate" them appropriate to their developmental level.

Edited by sierraleone, 01 May 2017 - 11:10 AM.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#4 sierraleone

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:53 AM

If this technology (whether just peri/post unassisted viability, or further back) became available…. It certainly would put into stark relief how all sides really feel about the abortion debate.

How will pro-life/anti-choice/"forced-birth" people lean…. Do they believe in the sanctity of life from conception? Is that belief held closer or greater than the belief (if held) that their pro-conservative (their "traditional" views of sexual morality, and women's roles) values should be wielded as a gavel of judgment and punishment over strangers? Would they even be for this technology, to be used for non-medical reasons? Would they want to activity work towards reducing unplanned and unwanted pregnancies by promoting comprehensive sex-ed, easy access to long-term birth control, removing or at least lessening structural/systematic barriers to parents ability to provide for their kids?

How will pro-choice/pro-abortion/"anti-life" people lean…. Do they really believe the blastocyst/embryo/fetus is just a clump of cells? Do they really just believe that the only issue at play here is the bodily integrity of the woman? Or is it that they believe that a woman has an absolute right to decide not to be a genetic-parent at all? I am certain pro-choice people would work towards sex-ed, universal birth control, and supporting parents… But would they be for forcing pregnant women, who would rather abort, to give up their fetus in utero, and for them to end up having children in this world that they didn't want born, if this technology was available? Will it be fundamentally different experience for genetic-parents than abortion, miscarriage, and/or adoption?

Pro-life people would argue that abortion is making this decision to not become a parent an ex post facto decision. Before such an argument always bumped up untenably against other pressing rights. There is also a reason why women overwhelming choose abortion over adoption, and it is not a simple they only don't want to be pregnant. They don't want to be mothers *or* birth-mothers under the circumstances they found themselves pregnant. I don't know how artificial wombs solve that dilemma for women who are confronted with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. I suppose the pro-life argument would be what bearing do their feelings have on this proposed solution? A solution to abortion perhaps, but isn't the solution to an unplanned and/or unwanted baby/toddler/child/teenager that requires feeding, changing/clothing, sheltering, rearing, guiding, loving, and educating.

Edited by sierraleone, 01 May 2017 - 11:19 AM.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#5 yadda yadda

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:44 PM

View PostOmega, on 30 April 2017 - 08:46 PM, said:

I've been waiting on this for a long time.

Both sides of the abortion issue tell a lot of lies. Pro-lifers say the law treats the unborn as if they have no rights. Pro-choicers (often) say the unborn are not human and thus have no rights.

The reality is that both are wrong. The mother has a right to control her body. But the unborn are living humans with a right to continue living. The problem is that these rights are in conflict, and a line has to be drawn somewhere, because we live in a world that sucks. No matter where the law lands, millions of people get screwed. And both sides want to yell and cheer because they picked the right people to screw over? Rending your garments is the correct response!

Artificial wombs change everything. Mother wants to control her body? No problem. Artificial womb, right this way!

I'll admit that I'm not all that up to speed, interested, or invested in the pro-life / pro-choice issue other than from the to me odious idea of a government bringing legal measures to enforce religious moral imperatives. I've always thought of the "life from conception" idea as a means of promoting archaic dictates of religious orders striving to increase their flocks of tithe paying members by encouraging the "be fruitful and multiply" theme and discouraging the converse act of abortion.

Would such an innovation as an artificial womb cause our neo-theocratic government to ban abortions and mandate all unwanted pregnancies to be brought to term in some sort of state-sponsored womb depot or hatchery? If so, who and how are all these potential little gifts of life to be supported, nurtured, and educated? It seems most typical Republican concern for the sanctity of life begins at conception and ends at delivery.

Edited by yadda yadda, 01 May 2017 - 12:49 PM.


#6 sierraleone

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 05:44 PM

View Postyadda yadda, on 01 May 2017 - 12:44 PM, said:

I've always thought of the "life from conception" idea as a means of promoting archaic dictates of religious orders striving to increase their flocks of tithe paying members by encouraging the "be fruitful and multiply" theme and discouraging the converse act of abortion.
...
It seems most typical Republican concern for the sanctity of life begins at conception and ends at delivery.

When you consider some of them hold some sort of belief in human suffering as being good and/or redemptive and/or submission/glory-to-god (related to sacrifice?) it starts to make more sense. Heck, redemptive suffering has its own wikipedia page.
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#7 sierraleone

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:37 PM

I came across this interesting abstract from the Journal of Applied Philosophy where ectogenesis where they asked women what they would do if they were pregnant and did not want to raise the child, but had access to ectogenetic technology.  They asked this of women on both sides of the abortion debate as a solution for if they had an unplanned pregnancy. Women on both side of the abortion debate rejected ectogenesis as a solution based on similar concepts of maternal responsibility. … Granted this is 20 years old.

http://onlinelibrary...0119.x/abstract
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#8 Omega

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:23 PM

I by no means dispute that this raises other ethical and moral questions. It just... decouples them from each other in an interesting fashion..

Do we value human life? Do we value all human lives equally? Do we value quality of life? By what measures and to what degrees? How are these things weighted against each other? How much responsibility for raising children are we willing to force on who, and in what circumstances?

The space of possible answers is constrained at this point by biological reality. Removing those constraints moves a lot of people into positions that simply didn't exist before.

Edited by Omega, 01 May 2017 - 10:27 PM.



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