Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

28 August 2014

South Africa: A Womb With a View - Ectogenesis Is Coming

analysis

It's almost here, the technology that will enable babies, once and for all, to be grown in artificial wombs. It's already promising to be a legal and ethical minefield, with scientists, religious leaders and philosophers alike jumping on the bandwagon to throw in their two cents on the implications. But, asks MARELISE VAN DER MERWE, what about the most important stakeholders of all - our kids themselves?

Ectogenesis: from the Greek 'ecto' (meaning 'outer') and the more obvious 'genesis' (beginning/origin). It's a sci-fi fantasy first coined by British scientist J.B.S. Haldane in 1924 to describe an idea so outlandish that there was, then, no word for it: the artificial womb.

Not too outlandish for too long, though. It's an idea that surfaced in popular culture soon enough. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and The Matrix spring to mind, for example. And as journalist Soraya Chemaly has noted, the technology for ectogenesis has been in development for over a decade - since 2001, in fact, according to the Daily Mail; strict legislation, however, has meant there are limits on how far it can go.

Two of the best-known projects in progress are cited by futurist Zoltan Istvan on Motherboard. The first...

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.