22 results for “Artificial Womb”

Towards collective standpoints on the future of baby making

Freya Hutchings
December 6th 2019

For the closing event of Reprodutopia, a true meeting of minds took place as we discussed the social implications surrounding the future of reproductive technologies. Multiple perspectives were heard in a talk-show style debate. Philosophers, bioethicists, researchers, a midwife, a new mother and audience members gathered to discuss the future of babymaking.

The event followed up on a number of questions raised in the exhibition; should men be able to give birth to children? Should we externalize pregnancy with artificial …

Join us for the closing event of Reprodutopia

NextNature.net
November 18th 2019

Should men be able to give birth to children? Should we externalize pregnancy with artificial wombs? And are these feminist dreams or frankenstein nightmares? Welcome to Reprodutopia, a debate on our reproductive futures.

An exhibition as a research site

For the past two months, Next Nature Network has proudly presented the Reprodutopia exhibition at @DROOG in Amsterdam. On the one hand, the project was disguised as a clinic for future reproductive technologies, while on the other hand, it served as …

Watch: BBC reports on world’s first artificial womb for humans

NextNature.net
October 21st 2019

Now that the team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (whom we previously collaborated with to design a prototype for an artificial womb) has been awarded a €2.9 million grant to develop a working prototype of their artificial womb, this breakthrough raises ethical questions about the future of baby making on a global scale.

Therefore the BBC caught up with NNN designer Lisa Mandemaker, as part of their BBC 100 Women of 2019, on what it means to …

Artificial womb: Are we ready?

NextNature.net
April 5th 2019

“Within a few years it will be possible for a premature baby to continue to mature in an artificial womb,” says gynecologist Guid Oei. It is therefore that the Artificial Womb: Dream or Nightmare? symposium is held on 29 March at the TU/e Center for Humans & Technology—in collaboration with Next Nature Network. Not the question whether it’s possible, but whether we want this or not. Moreover, an ethicist, a journalist and a designer are also invited to share their …

Artificial womb: Dream or nightmare?

NextNature.net
March 22nd 2019

The emerging technology of the artificial womb confronts us with a series of moral and societal questions. How to cope with that? Join us on 29 March at Eindhoven University of Technology and discuss with us the promises and perils of growing babies outside the womb.

An artificial what? Well, the scientific accurate term for the enabling technology behind the artificial womb is Ectogenesis (from the Greek ecto, outer, and genesis, birth). Accordingly, it refers to "the growth of an …

2014 – Womb Transplant Baby Born

Elle Zhan Wei
August 25th 2017
A Swedish woman who had her uterus removed due to cancer in her twenties gave birth to her own child as the world's first person to undergo a uterus transplant. And the donor? Her own mother.

1916 – Artificial Womb Appeared in Cinema

Elle Zhan Wei
August 16th 2017
In 1916 the artificial womb made its first appearance on the big screen in the movie "Homunculus" by Otto Rippert.

2016 – Human Embryo Lives 13 Days in Lab

Elle Zhan Wei
August 9th 2017
In 2016 a team of biologists has successfully kept a human embryo alive in the lab for 13 days, breaking the previous record of nine days.

1996 – First Artificial Womb Experimented

Elle Zhan Wei
August 2nd 2017
In 1996, Yoshinori Kuwabara at Juntendo University in Tokyo incubated a premature goat fetus by using extrauterine fetal incubation.

2015: Artificial Placenta Approaches

Elle Zhan Wei
July 26th 2017
In 2015, a group of scientists from the University of Michigan claimed to have made the world's first artificial placenta.
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For the closing event of Reprodutopia, a true meeting of minds took place as we discussed the social implications surrounding the future of reproductive technologies. Multiple perspectives were heard in a talk-show style debate. Philosophers, bioethicists, researchers, a midwife, a new mother and audience members gathered to discuss the future of babymaking.

The event followed up on a number of questions raised in the exhibition; should men be able to give birth to children? Should we externalize pregnancy with artificial wombs? And are these feminist dreams or Frankenstein nightmares? The event also provided an opportunity for researchers at Athena Institute to publicly share their findings from the exhibition, and discuss the impact of speculative design as a form of science communication.

Motherhood, femininity and biology

First up, we addressed the question of whether biology should remain linked to femininity and the female body. Are there aspects of motherhood that technology cannot replicate? Philosopher Anna Smajdor and midwife Beatrijs Smulders shared their perspectives.

Smajdor asked, is pregnancy overvalued in our society, and why are negative experiences of birth ignored? She got us thinking, what possibilities emerge when we remove the female body from reproduction, and when society adopts a new idea of femininity, womanhood and pregnancy? Would care-giving roles be given a higher status in our society? Would women experience true equality when reproductive responsibility is shared between men and women through the use of an artificial womb, for example?

Midwife Beatrijs Smulders, on the other hand, celebrated the reproductive capabilities of women, and argued that technology cannot replicate the essential care and bonding stages of a pregnancy. She views the natural processes of pregnancy and breastfeeding as a crucial stage of development that allows children to have healthy, loving relationships in the future. She argued for technology that aids women's reproductive capabilities rather than recreating them, and applauded technologies such as IVF and developments in antibiotics in terms of making birth safer for more women. She disagreed with the idea that women should give up their natural ability to deliver babies, or that they should shape their reproductive role to fit around potentially male driven technologies.

Some audience members shared these assertions, claiming that human intimacy cannot be replicated by technology, and that we should not underestimate the psychological development of both mother and child in the process of natural births and pregnancies. Others disagreed on the weight of responsibility placed on mothers, arguing that a community brings up a child, and that we should loosen parenting’s biological ties.

Meanwhile, our live Instagram poll revealed polarized opinions about the experience of pregnancy:

Future society, imagined

The next part of the talk-show explored how society might be transformed by the widespread use of new reproductive technologies. Two readings of speculative fiction presented the audience with alternative future scenarios to help them navigate some of the societal complexities of Reprodutopia. These world-building scenarios formed a solid ground from which we could go beyond the technologies presented and think about the bigger picture.

Bioethicist Marcel Zuijderland read extracts from a personal diary which revealed the experiences of a gay couple making preperations for their child in 2084. His fictional diary communicated the joy experienced by same sex partners when finally given the technology to have their own biological child, whilst also predicting societal divides between natural and technologically enhanced children.

Next, philosopher Marjintje Smits’ reading imagined the implications of future technologies from a feminine perspective. She forecasted that although future technologies may make birth safer and less disruptive to a woman's life, technological intervention could also mean the unwanted medicalization, control and ownership of women’s bodies.

Both diary entries identified the benefits of technology in terms of creating inclusive, safer, and less labour intensive births. However, tension was predicted between different sections of society; as expected, and the audience concluded, there is not one fix for all.

Divided opinion continued online:

Towards collective standpoints

The final part of the event sought to establish humane standpoints for living in a world where there are no boundaries for reproductive technologies, where they have become the norm; in other words, Reprodutopia.

Panelist Hafez Ismaili M’hamdi, a medical ethicist who focuses on social equity and reproduction through the lens of health, thinks self-determination is key. We have the potential to grow in a society that allows us to carry out our inner motivations, motivations that should also involve connecting and having close, affectionate relationships with others and forming social groups. There was an agreement that we have a certain right to live in the ways we wish, but should there be limitations?

Having experienced first-hand the difficulties of bonding with her premature baby, new mother Nanon Labrie warned of the psychological impact reproductive technologies external from the womb may have. Whilst she empathized with the convenience of artificial wombs and the division of responsibility between men and women, she asked for a Reprodutopia in which the mental as well as physical well being of child and chosen parent are a priority.

Others pushed the importance of social equality and democracy when it comes to creating guidelines for Reprodutopia. One audience member argued for a Queertopia, where reproductive technologies promote more inclusive societies not confined to biologically determined roles. This led us to contemplate, how can technology translate to complex societal needs? The variety of reproductive technologies shown at the exhibition address a range of specific issues, and a solution for one individual or group may not be the same for another.

Nobody has concrete answers, but it is crucial to have these discussions and ensure developments in reproductive technologies address multiple perspectives and needs. Reproductive technologies, and even future speculations, draw form the political and social climate in which they are made; we must think collectively about which values we would like to shape them.

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Should men be able to give birth to children? Should we externalize pregnancy with artificial wombs? And are these feminist dreams or frankenstein nightmares? Welcome to Reprodutopia, a debate on our reproductive futures.

An exhibition as a research site

For the past two months, Next Nature Network has proudly presented the Reprodutopia exhibition at @DROOG in Amsterdam. On the one hand, the project was disguised as a clinic for future reproductive technologies, while on the other hand, it served as a research site for the Athena Institute— an educational platform from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) that aims to scientifically study and design interfaces between science and society.

But all good things must come to an end, so we decided to go out with a bang. On the last day of the exhibition, we will publicly share our findings and discuss how reproductive technologies may shape the future of humanity. And you are invited.

Because what might changing modes of reproduction mean for our freedom of choice and social (in)equalities, as well the relationships we form with our bodies and unborn children? 

Join the debate!

For this closing we will be joined by philosophers Nanon Labrie, Hafez Ismaili M’hamdi, Anna Smajdor, Beatrijs Smulders, Martijntje Smits and Marcel Zuijderland. Next Nature's Joyce Nabuurs and VU's Frank Kupper will be moderating the debate, and the dynamic format of the event will provide you with multiple opportunities to get involved in the discussion.

At Next Nature Network, we believe it's time for this much-needed discussion and therefore we need you, because if we are to rewrite the human story, let’s make sure it becomes a story that benefits all.

Plan your visit

If you are unable to make it to the closing event, you can visit Reprodutopia daily from 9am—7pm until 30 November 2019, free of charge.

What? A talk-show style debate on the future of reproductive technologies
Where? @DROOG, Amsterdam
When? Saturday 30 November, from 3pm-5pm

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Now that the team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (whom we previously collaborated with to design a prototype for an artificial womb) has been awarded a €2.9 million grant to develop a working prototype of their artificial womb, this breakthrough raises ethical questions about the future of baby making on a global scale.

Therefore the BBC caught up with NNN designer Lisa Mandemaker, as part of their BBC 100 Women of 2019, on what it means to design an artificial womb.

The interview was recored during the buildup of Reprodutopia, our latest exhibition that presents thought-provoking visions of reproductive technologies.

What? The Reprodutopia Clinic expo
When? From 9 October  — 30 November 2019
Where? Droog Amsterdam

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“Within a few years it will be possible for a premature baby to continue to mature in an artificial womb,” says gynecologist Guid Oei. It is therefore that the Artificial Womb: Dream or Nightmare? symposium is held on 29 March at the TU/e Center for Humans & Technology—in collaboration with Next Nature Network. Not the question whether it’s possible, but whether we want this or not. Moreover, an ethicist, a journalist and a designer are also invited to share their vision on the artificial womb.

The design

Five large red balloons are hanging from the ceiling in the theatre room. They were designed by Hendrik-Jan Grievink (designer at NNN), in close collaboration with the team of gynecologist Guid Oei from Máxima Medical Centre.

It is not intended for these works of art to cherish the extremely premature babies. Yet, it may seem plausible, as the object is holding connections for the umbilical cord, a supply of simulated amniotic fluid and the electronics that can display the heartbeat and movements of the mother.

But for the time being these bulbs serve as an eye-catcher. “Let the discussion begin,” say Oei and Grievink.

IVF

Journalist Larissa Pans wholeheartedly agrees with them. She wrote the book Unlimited Fertility and speaks about the unforeseen consequences of IVF treatments that have turned the world upside down since the 1970s.

“I consider the current international fertility industry as a spin-off from the discovery of IVF,” she states.

Moderator Koert van Mensvoort and author Larissa Pans

In 1978, the first IVF baby was born in Bristol: Louise Brown. For her book, Pans spoke with gynecologists Bert Alberda and Gerard Zeilmaker, who at the time also tried to allow fertilization outside the body in the Dijkzicht hospital in Rotterdam (NL).

Two years after the birth of Louise Brown, they were allowed to return embryos to the women whose egg cells were fertilized. The first Dutch IVF baby was born in 1983. Now there are eight million IVF babies worldwide.

Tupperware

“Besides a fertility industry, I even see fertility tourism,” says Pans. “Egg-freezing parties are being held in America. There is trade in eggs and sperm, each country has its own rules. Dutch women fly to Cyprus or Spain for an anonymous egg. Is motherhood a right that you can claim?”

The journalist continues to speak about her eye-opening moment. “I understood the feminist view—that it’s a good thing for women to gain power over their fertility. But I once spoke to a woman who was born as a triplet from an anonymous donor. She is angry and feels like a ‘B-child’, because she discovered that she comes from a sperm cocktail from different men. So this means that there are also losers: the children with identity questions.”

Gynecologist Guid Oei

Guid Oei is a gynecologist at Máxima Medical Center and saves premature babies. He talks about the problems that prematurely born babies face (the air damages their vesicles) and social concerns (from the huge medical costs to having only fifty percent chance of survival).

It is his dream to be able to use artificial wombs, “not in the lab, but in maternity suites.” Oei expects that it can be that far within a few years. “A lamb has already been born in Japan that grew for weeks in a—transparent—artificial womb.”

Questions, questions, questions

“A lamb in a bag doesn't look like a nightmare, does it,” argues moderator Koert van Mensvoort.

The audience has more questions: Is a child born twice with this technique? And if so, what is the birthday? How does the baby bond with the mother? What does it do with the mother psychologically? Are there any physical consequences? What about milk production? What is the relation to adoption? Oei has no answers yet. “Follow-up is needed,” he says, “but this is a better solution than an incubator.”

Visitor Sylvie Kars takes notes of the questions. She is an educator at Freya, an association for parents with fertility problems. “I find it very interesting to see the possibility of an artificial womb. I was expecting science fiction scenes, but only here do I realize that it can currently be a solution for premature births. That makes it less bizarre. And we have to talk about the possibilities of technology. You can't ignore that.”

Abortion

When Lily Frank from the Philosophy and ethics group (TU / e Faculty of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences) enters the stage, the questions become even more complex. She wonders whether ectogenesis (growing babies outside the womb) will end the abortion discussion.

Other questions follow from her and from the public. Is a fetus entitled to life? Is ending the life of the fetus in the artificial womb the same as abortion? Who decides? The mother, the father, the doctor? Is a fetus the property of parents and do they have the right to destroy it? Does a woman have the right not to become a biological mother?

Ethicist Lily Frank in conversation with Dutch news broadcaster Nieuwsuur

What started with the future dream of having artificial wombs ends this afternoon with thoughts about contracts for mothers who would rather give up their child in such a womb.

The message is clear, says Van Mensvoort: “Don't be naive about negative side effects. Discuss! And do that beforehand, and not afterwards, as with IVF."

This story is a report from the Artificial Womb: Dream or Nightmare? symposium that took place on March 29th at TU/e. We thank our talented speakers and the wonderfully engaging audience for their contribution. Missed out? Dutch news broadcaster Nieuwsuur was present and filmed a segment of the event. Watch it here (in Dutch).

? Written by Norbine Schalij
? Phototography by Bart van Overbeeke

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The emerging technology of the artificial womb confronts us with a series of moral and societal questions. How to cope with that? Join us on 29 March at Eindhoven University of Technology and discuss with us the promises and perils of growing babies outside the womb.

An artificial what? Well, the scientific accurate term for the enabling technology behind the artificial womb is Ectogenesis (from the Greek ecto, outer, and genesis, birth). Accordingly, it refers to "the growth of an organism in an artificial environment outside the body in which it would normally be found.
"Unnatural you say? Biological reproduction is a highly technologized area for years already; consider how birth control has become widely accepted and available, and already over 6 million humans have been put onto this earth through In Vitro Fertilization.
Are we ready for this? The artificial womb—or at least the ability to create one—is inching its way toward us. The big question is whether or not society is ready for it. Thus we need a debate on the impact of emerging reproductive technologies. Join us!

Speakers include Hendrik-Jan Grievink (designer Next Nature Network), Guid Oei (gynecologist MMC), Lily Frank (ethicist TU/e), and Larisa Pans (author of the book “Onbeperkt vruchtbaar” - Limitless fertility). Moderated by Koert van Mensvoort (creative director Next Nature Network and Fellow TU/e).

Date: 29 March
Time: 12:30 - 16:30
Location: Blauwe Zaal, Auditorium, TU/e campus

Free admission, RSVP via this link.

This event is organized by the TU/e Center for Humans & Technology, in co-production with Next Nature Network

[post_title] => Artificial womb: Dream or nightmare? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => artificial-womb-dream-nightmare [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-22 13:04:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-22 12:04:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=109627 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 73682 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-08-25 10:00:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-25 08:00:07 [post_content] => At age 36 a Swedish woman who had her uterus removed due to cancer in her twenties gave birth to her own child as the world's first person to undergo a womb transplant. And the donor? Her own mother.Uterus transplant in human beings requires a fitting donor and years of medication to avoid the risk of rejection. IVF can be performed only after a successful transplant surgery and a confirmed healthy state of the body. If all the steps are successful, the mother can experience a normal pregnancy cycle and give birth subsequently. The implanted uterus could withstand multiple pregnancies but it should be removed after, so the medication against rejection can be stopped.The first researches on womb transplant in mammals date back to 1896, when an Austrian gynecologist obtained successful results on rabbits. In 1966 in the US, the same procedure saw promising outcomes on dogs. In October 2014, in an undisclosed location in Sweden, a baby was born from the world's first uterus human transplant. The newborn body weight at birth was 1,8 kg, born prematurely at 32 weeks he was delivered by cesarean section, marking another huge step forward for science. In the case of this Swedish mother, the donor was the grandma of the child to lower probability of rejection. Dr. Mats Brannstrom performed the surgery and delivered four boys from the transplanted womb, with a fifth on the way. He said there was something very special about this case: “It’s one uterus bridging three generations of a family”. The Swedish mother said in an interview“It can’t be described how happy we are, it’s everything that I hoped for and a little bit more”.Experts in the field describe womb transplant as a biggest breakthrough since the first successful IVF in 1978. This method brings new hope to couples struggling with infertility and women who had cancer or were born without a uterus.Of course, we can only marvel at what’s possible in today’s medical science. But apart from technicalities, there is also a beautiful human side to this story about the grandmother offering her own womb to her daughter. How could this story inspire the design of the artificial womb? Will we ever pass our wombs from generation to generation? It sounds like science fiction, but it might become a reality sooner than we think.This article is part of the Artificial Womb research project by NNN. The goal of this project is to develop thought-provoking scenarios that facilitate a much-needed discussion about the way technology radically alters our attitude towards reproduction, gender, relationships and love in the 21st century. We highly value your feedback or input, contributions can be sent to womb@nextnature.net.Image: BBC [post_title] => 2014 - Womb Transplant Baby Born [post_excerpt] => A Swedish woman who had her uterus removed due to cancer in her twenties gave birth to her own child as the world's first person to undergo a uterus transplant. And the donor? Her own mother. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2014-womb-transplant-baby-born [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-02 12:25:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-02 10:25:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=73682/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 73296 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-08-16 10:00:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-16 08:00:30 [post_content] => The image above it's a screenshot from Homunculus, a 1916 movie by Otto Rippert about a group of scientists who created a human in the lab. This "superman" was simultaneously a master criminal and a Christ figure. The frame shows the fear and astonishment reaction of two villagers towards the lab-created human. This is the first time an artificial womb was presented on screen.The part of the movie showing the "birth" of the human from the artificial womb: [youtube]https://youtu.be/5kmYn5GUI2g[/youtube]The movie reflects fear towards a lab made man, but also undeniable curiosity. It is intriguing to see how 100 years ago science fiction was already trying to start a debate on the ethics of the artificial womb. This visual representation of the "artificial womb", resembling to a roman column, does not convince us just yet. But the conversation and debate it evokes stay relevant. Does the use of an artificial womb make us super humans? Or is what we create from the artificial womb that is super human?This article is part of the Artificial Womb research project by NNN. The goal of this project is to develop thought-provoking scenarios that facilitate a much-needed discussion about the way technology radically alters our attitude towards reproduction, gender, relationships and love in the 21st century. We highly value your feedback or input, contributions can be sent to womb@nextnature.net.Image: MoMA [post_title] => 1916 - Artificial Womb Appeared in Cinema [post_excerpt] => In 1916 the artificial womb made its first appearance on the big screen in the movie "Homunculus" by Otto Rippert. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 1916-artificial-womb-cinema-homunculus [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-02 12:25:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-02 10:25:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=73296/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74146 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-08-09 10:00:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-09 08:00:53 [post_content] => A team of American and British biologists has successfully kept a human embryo alive in the lab for 13 days, breaking the previous record of nine days. This achievement has revealed some unknown details of the first stage of human development and has been a major step in understanding why so many failures occur during in vitro fertilization.The same experiment also touches upon ethical dilemmas. About a dozen countries agreed to set 14 days as a limit for lab experiments involving a human embryo, implying that an embryo older than 14 days should be considered a human with rights. It is recognized that 14 days is when the fertilized egg starts to show a human form. It is also the time when the cells start to split and develop separately in case of twins. Researchers have been trying to push this limit further, stressing the potential benefits of this study: “We discovered, in the human embryo, a population of cells that nobody else has ever seen in any other animal. Not knowing that this is part of our anatomy - at the beginning of the 21st century - is a little bit, how shall I say, embarrassing” says Ali Brivanlou, professor at Rockefeller University and an expert in the field.Even if scientists have to deal with opposing opinions, in particular from religious groups who want to stop the human embryo study altogether, the research for the creation of human life in the lab is proceeding. It would be a matter of time before this procedure will be in place and marvel our eyes. With more and more reproductive technologies already here (such as the creation of sperm and egg cells from skin cell), “childbirth” or “being pregnant” could assume radically different meanings in the future. Laws and regulations have to support these technologies, so they stay well controlled and safe for public access. But is public access to this technology what we want?This article is part of the Artificial Womb research project by NNN. The goal of this project is to develop thought-provoking scenarios that facilitate a much-needed discussion about the way technology radically alters our attitude towards reproduction, gender, relationships and love in the 21st century. We highly value your feedback or input, contributions can be sent to womb@nextnature.net.Image: Nature [post_title] => 2016 - Human Embryo Lives 13 Days in Lab [post_excerpt] => In 2016 a team of biologists has successfully kept a human embryo alive in the lab for 13 days, breaking the previous record of nine days. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2016-human-embryo-lives-13-days [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-14 14:40:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-14 13:40:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=74146/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74137 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-08-02 10:00:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-02 08:00:05 [post_content] => In 1996, professor Yoshinori Kuwabara at Juntendo University in Tokyo developed a system called EUFI, extrauterine fetal incubation. A premature goat fetus was the experiment subject. In EUFI, the researchers take goat fetuses, thread catheters through the large vessels in the umbilical cord and supply the fetuses with oxygenated blood while suspending them in incubators that contain artificial amniotic fluid heated to body temperature. This system kept the goat alive for three weeks in the lab, until circulation failure and other technical difficulties emerged.Being the first in the world to experiment the artificial womb, the creator of this technology wrote in his paper: "It goes without saying that the ideal situation for the immature fetus is growth within the normal environment of the maternal organism". His interest in developing such machines comes from his job as chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and from yeas of research on the artificial placenta to save premature infants' lives. Upon finishing this experiment, Kuwabara predicted that ''it should be possible to extend the length" and ultimately "this can be applied to human beings".Even though the experiment itself was not successful in terms of fully incubating the goat fetus till maturity, it was a success in creating awareness on this subject worldwide. In 1996, multiple influential news agencies published headlines such as The Artificial Womb Is Born, featuring long analysis on the event. After 20 years now, we are still on the way of exploring and developing the artificial womb.This article is part of the Artificial Womb research project by NNN. The goal of this project is to develop thought-provoking scenarios that facilitate a much-needed discussion about the way technology radically alters our attitude towards reproduction, gender, relationships and love in the 21st century. We highly value your feedback or input, contributions can be sent to womb@nextnature.net. [post_title] => 1996 - First Artificial Womb Experimented [post_excerpt] => In 1996, Yoshinori Kuwabara at Juntendo University in Tokyo incubated a premature goat fetus by using extrauterine fetal incubation. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 1996-extrauterine-fetal-incubation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 15:17:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 13:17:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=74137/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 73686 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-07-26 10:04:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-26 08:04:25 [post_content] => Baby incubators for premature infants are made to mimic the temperature inside the womb. Nineteenth-century incubators already featured a good level of hygiene, a supply of air and constant temperature. But for those who were born extremely early (at 23 weeks or even earlier) this is not enough.In 2015, a group of scientists from the University of Michigan claimed to have made the world's first artificial placenta. "One of the gravest risks for extremely premature babies is undeveloped lungs that are too fragile to handle even the gentlest ventilation techniques" said George Mychaliska, the research leader and the director of U-M's Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center. "We thought, 'Why don't we solve the problem of prematurity by re-creating the intrauterine environment? Maybe we should treat these babies as if they are still in the womb". This conceptual change as led them to design an extracorporeal membrane oxidation (ECMO) system, or "artificial placenta" that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung and back into the bloodstream. With this system the team managed to keep extremely premature baby lambs alive in the lab for weeks. The success ensured them 2.7 million dollars in funding to continue their research on human fetuses.The placenta is a key organ that keeps the healthy growth of a fetus in the womb. It cleans out waste products of the fetus and protects the fetus from being attacked by mother's antibiotics. Without placenta, there will be no medium to deliver nutrition to the fetus. Multiple key hormones released from the placenta ensure a safe pregnancy throughout nine-month period. In case of emergency, the placenta works as a blood reservoir for the fetus, like a life-saving capacitor. This special organ grows alongside the fetus, as the baby approaches maturity, the placenta gains in size and weight as well. The recreation of the placenta would bring immense progress in the making of the artificial womb.[caption id="attachment_74499" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Newborn connected to the placenta by the umbilical cord.[/caption]Aside from the physical connection, there have always been debates on the psychological link the placenta facilitates between mother and baby. A smartphone company offers the possibility to record the mother's heartbeat and stream it for the baby in the incubator, as a try to shorten the distance between them. However, long-term effects of the lack of human touch on the development of the fetus are unknown.Many believe that the bond between unborn fetuses and mothers is facilitated by the umbilicol cord and the placenta. In some cultures, after the baby is born the placenta is buried with a ceremony.[caption id="attachment_74504" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Hearts and words made of umbilical cords.[/caption]This article is part of the Artificial Womb research project by NNN. The goal of this project is to develop thought-provoking scenarios that facilitate a much-needed discussion about the way technology radically alters our attitude towards reproduction, gender, relationships and love in the 21st century. We highly value your feedback or input, contributions can be sent to womb@nextnature.net.Image: World Economic ForumSarah Boccolucci, Buzzfeed [post_title] => 2015: Artificial Placenta Approaches [post_excerpt] => In 2015, a group of scientists from the University of Michigan claimed to have made the world's first artificial placenta. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2015-artificial-placenta-approaches [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-14 14:41:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-14 13:41:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=73686/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 126091 [post_author] => 2194 [post_date] => 2019-12-06 11:02:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-06 10:02:16 [post_content] =>

For the closing event of Reprodutopia, a true meeting of minds took place as we discussed the social implications surrounding the future of reproductive technologies. Multiple perspectives were heard in a talk-show style debate. Philosophers, bioethicists, researchers, a midwife, a new mother and audience members gathered to discuss the future of babymaking.

The event followed up on a number of questions raised in the exhibition; should men be able to give birth to children? Should we externalize pregnancy with artificial wombs? And are these feminist dreams or Frankenstein nightmares? The event also provided an opportunity for researchers at Athena Institute to publicly share their findings from the exhibition, and discuss the impact of speculative design as a form of science communication.

Motherhood, femininity and biology

First up, we addressed the question of whether biology should remain linked to femininity and the female body. Are there aspects of motherhood that technology cannot replicate? Philosopher Anna Smajdor and midwife Beatrijs Smulders shared their perspectives.

Smajdor asked, is pregnancy overvalued in our society, and why are negative experiences of birth ignored? She got us thinking, what possibilities emerge when we remove the female body from reproduction, and when society adopts a new idea of femininity, womanhood and pregnancy? Would care-giving roles be given a higher status in our society? Would women experience true equality when reproductive responsibility is shared between men and women through the use of an artificial womb, for example?

Midwife Beatrijs Smulders, on the other hand, celebrated the reproductive capabilities of women, and argued that technology cannot replicate the essential care and bonding stages of a pregnancy. She views the natural processes of pregnancy and breastfeeding as a crucial stage of development that allows children to have healthy, loving relationships in the future. She argued for technology that aids women's reproductive capabilities rather than recreating them, and applauded technologies such as IVF and developments in antibiotics in terms of making birth safer for more women. She disagreed with the idea that women should give up their natural ability to deliver babies, or that they should shape their reproductive role to fit around potentially male driven technologies.

Some audience members shared these assertions, claiming that human intimacy cannot be replicated by technology, and that we should not underestimate the psychological development of both mother and child in the process of natural births and pregnancies. Others disagreed on the weight of responsibility placed on mothers, arguing that a community brings up a child, and that we should loosen parenting’s biological ties.

Meanwhile, our live Instagram poll revealed polarized opinions about the experience of pregnancy:

Future society, imagined

The next part of the talk-show explored how society might be transformed by the widespread use of new reproductive technologies. Two readings of speculative fiction presented the audience with alternative future scenarios to help them navigate some of the societal complexities of Reprodutopia. These world-building scenarios formed a solid ground from which we could go beyond the technologies presented and think about the bigger picture.

Bioethicist Marcel Zuijderland read extracts from a personal diary which revealed the experiences of a gay couple making preperations for their child in 2084. His fictional diary communicated the joy experienced by same sex partners when finally given the technology to have their own biological child, whilst also predicting societal divides between natural and technologically enhanced children.

Next, philosopher Marjintje Smits’ reading imagined the implications of future technologies from a feminine perspective. She forecasted that although future technologies may make birth safer and less disruptive to a woman's life, technological intervention could also mean the unwanted medicalization, control and ownership of women’s bodies.

Both diary entries identified the benefits of technology in terms of creating inclusive, safer, and less labour intensive births. However, tension was predicted between different sections of society; as expected, and the audience concluded, there is not one fix for all.

Divided opinion continued online:

Towards collective standpoints

The final part of the event sought to establish humane standpoints for living in a world where there are no boundaries for reproductive technologies, where they have become the norm; in other words, Reprodutopia.

Panelist Hafez Ismaili M’hamdi, a medical ethicist who focuses on social equity and reproduction through the lens of health, thinks self-determination is key. We have the potential to grow in a society that allows us to carry out our inner motivations, motivations that should also involve connecting and having close, affectionate relationships with others and forming social groups. There was an agreement that we have a certain right to live in the ways we wish, but should there be limitations?

Having experienced first-hand the difficulties of bonding with her premature baby, new mother Nanon Labrie warned of the psychological impact reproductive technologies external from the womb may have. Whilst she empathized with the convenience of artificial wombs and the division of responsibility between men and women, she asked for a Reprodutopia in which the mental as well as physical well being of child and chosen parent are a priority.

Others pushed the importance of social equality and democracy when it comes to creating guidelines for Reprodutopia. One audience member argued for a Queertopia, where reproductive technologies promote more inclusive societies not confined to biologically determined roles. This led us to contemplate, how can technology translate to complex societal needs? The variety of reproductive technologies shown at the exhibition address a range of specific issues, and a solution for one individual or group may not be the same for another.

Nobody has concrete answers, but it is crucial to have these discussions and ensure developments in reproductive technologies address multiple perspectives and needs. Reproductive technologies, and even future speculations, draw form the political and social climate in which they are made; we must think collectively about which values we would like to shape them.

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