A molecular biologist in Germany has announced he is creating a fully functional artificial womb and claims that in a few “short years” it would replace traditional birth. Hashem Al-Ghaili recently released a concept video that features artificial womb pods for human babies. The video is titled “Ectolife: The World’s First Artificial Womb Facility.” It shows details of a factory that can incubate up to 30,000 babies per year by utilizing 75 state-of-the-art labs containing up to 400 pods. According to the video, every pod is designed to replicate the exact functions of a women’s uterus allowing the baby to access nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and antibodies. Each pod would also monitor the unborn baby’s vital signs including the baby’s heartbeat, temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate, and oxygen levels. Physical and genetic abnormalities would be monitored as well.
Al-Ghaili is a filmmaker, producer, and molecular biologist who is using his background in science and technology to develop this brand-new concept. He told Science and Stuff that Ectolife would be life-changing. “It’s a perfect solution for women who have had their uterus surgically removed due to cancer or other complications. It could also help solve issues that stem from low sperm count. It could ultimately make miscarriage a thing of the past,” he said. Parents who use Ectolife would have the ability to monitor their baby’s growth through an app and virtually be in the pod with the baby, seeing everything he or she sees. According to the video, parents will be offered an “elite package” that would allow them to genetically edit their baby’s traits. That could include customizing the baby’s eye colour, hair colour, skin tone, physical strength, height, and level of intelligence.
Additionally, the baby will have the opportunity to hear a wide range of sounds that mimic what is heard in utero. “Parents could even play their own voices, so their child gets more used to them,” Al-Ghaili said. Al-Ghaili believes these pods can become a reality in the next 10 years. Israeli scientists have already been able to grow mice embryos for up to 11 days inside an artificial womb. In a peer-reviewed scientific article, biologist Jacob Hanna explained that without the use of sperm, egg, or fertilization, mice stem cells placed in a Petri dish spontaneously joined together, outside of the womb, and assembled embryos with beating hearts, intestinal tracts, and brains. Hanna’s biotech company, Renewal Bio, claimed the synthetic mice embryos were not “real” embryos, but a research director at the Charlotte Lozier Institute said that if you have something growing that has a beating heart and a nervous system and limbs and digits and other organs, it’s an embryo.”
Dr. David Prentice, Ph.D., said. Renewal Bio later announced using this method to make human embryos to harvest tissue for organ transplants and anti-aging procedures. Meanwhile, Al-Ghaili believes it is time to push a new form of birth and says Ectolife is the next logical step. “This would put an end to age-related infertility, forever,” Al-Ghaili wrote on Instagram. “So, why aren’t we doing this now? Because there are needless restrictions on research that deals with human embryos. Research on human embryos is not allowed beyond 14 days, and that’s a big issue! We need to change the rules and begin exploring options that will help people who are suffering from infertility.” Pro-life scholars say experimenting with living human embryos is unethical, violates the humanity of the experimental human subject, and crosses a line into a sci-fi “Brave New World” with unforeseen consequences.
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