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By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD
Pregnancy: Who needs it?
Unfortunately for squeamish women, the entire human species. While expecting mothers typically experience plenty of joy and discovery, there are obvious discomforts, health risks, and emotional challenges that go with the gestational territory. Carrying a fetus to term, and bringing it into the world safely, is a major medical event. About 26 out of 100,000 women in the United States die due to pregnancy complications, which is the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.
That’s why visionaries have, for decades, toyed with the notion of artificial wombs capable of incubating a human fetus to term outside a woman’s body. This „ectogenesis“ or „extracorporeal pregnancy“ would not only allow women to outsource the burden of childbearing to robot surrogates, it could also expand reproductive options for single people, same-sex couples, or families struggling with infertility. Earlier this year, scientists demonstrated that fetal lambs could be incubated in basic artificial „biobags,“ so this emerging field could help save premature human babies in the future, too.