A-3 - Roy Parker WRIT 140 Hubbs The Thing About Ectogenesis...

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Roy Parker WRIT 140 Assignment #3 Hubbs March 10, 2011 “The Thing About Ectogenesis is…” It sounds like something out of a science fiction story. In fact, Aldous Huxley predicted it in Brave New World and more recently The Wachowski Brothers did as well in The Matrix . But although those are works of fiction and fantasy, the process of ectogenesis, or embryos growing into babies outside of a human and by a machine, has been tested and could eventually turn into a commonplace reality. Artificial wombs can be used to save mothers from the hassle of being pregnant as well as save them and their child from any complications that may arise in natural childbirth. But ectogenesis is a process that could unintentionally lead to overpopulation and takes away the human connection and involvement of carrying a child. For those reasons, the government should regulate this technology and limit it only to those in which pregnancy is either life threatening or impossible. The process for ectogenesis can be traced back to the first test tube baby or “in vitro fertilization” (IVF). But artificial wombs themselves are a much more difficult process than a test tube baby. Scientists had to inject actual human cell bodies into the artificial substance that the womb was built of so the actual human DNA needed in the process of carrying a child could surround the womb. Then, just as in science fiction, the fetus is hooked up to a machine that carries the nutrients the fetus needs through the umbilical chord (Simonstein 360). Experiments of the process started with the actual formation of an artificial womb to see if it could be constructed and still theoretically be
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life-sustainable. The next experiment went as far to take goat embryos and grow them outside of the mother goat. These made it all the way to full term. Actual human subjects have only been taken as far as 6 weeks into term (Catseye, “Ectogenesis – Panacea or Ethical Nightmare?”). Since there is a deep ethical dilemma into ectogenesis, the process is still experimental and theoretically by means. For this reason, there is no real government ruling upon the legality of the process and to what instances it should or should not be used. The government acknowledged the possibility of ectogenesis years before it was a feasible goal in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade. In the ruling of that case, the court said that an abortion must be available to all women until such time that a fetus can be supported artificially outside of a human. Since this ruling still stands, it would be that the government would implicate the usage of ectogenesis as a means of which to replace abortions as a suitable solution for unwanted pregnancies (Pearson 262). This is where
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This note was uploaded on 05/09/2011 for the course WRIT 140 taught by Professor Alvandi during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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A-3 - Roy Parker WRIT 140 Hubbs The Thing About Ectogenesis...

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