In The Future We May Be Able To Grow Babies Outside Of The Womb

  • Parents Only

By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist

If you've ever grown a baby inside your womb for 10 months (yes, not nine!), suffered the aches and pains and fatigue and stretchmarks and soft cheese and wine withdrawals and THEN experienced the complete agony of childbirth, chances are this thought has crossed your mind: there must be a better way! Well, in the future there just might be....

Students from Artez Product Design Arnhem in the Netherlands have come up with a very possible solution: the Par-tu-ri-ent, an incubation system for bringing a child into the world completely outside the womb.

Baby In A Pod

The Par-tu-ri-ent pod is an artificial and intelligent internet-connected incubator that could be switched on in your living room. It has a clear curved lid so that adoring parents can obsess over every stage of the fetus’s growth. To mimic the intimacy of carrying your own baby, there’s even a portable care bag that slings over the shoulder and simulates the baby’s kicks. Likewise, when the parents gently rock the portable bag, the connected pod simulates the same movement to enhance the bonding experience.

Don't Forget To Feed The Baby

While you're out eating sushi and drinking cocktails - your baby can get its nutrients from the feeding device attached to the incubator. And so bub can start to get used to your voice there's a microphone that mum or dad can use to communicate with their little 'peanut' to help with development.

It sounds crazy and far-fetched by it kind of has been done with animals. In April this year researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia successfully delivered baby lambs that had been gestated in a “biobag” filled with amniotic fluid. Testing on humans will be next, particularly as a way to help premature babies grow to term outside of the uterus. The lead surgeon on the project told Science that human testing could be three to five years away.

An Ethical Can Of Worms

On the one hand, growing a baby in a 'pod' could reduce the number of still births, because fetuses would be more closely monitored and accessible. It would also give hope to lots of people who physically cannot give birth (gay men, single men, older or infertile women) and it would take away the strain of using a surrogate. But on the other hand, it could potentially remove the bond between a mother and her child. Then there's the perplexing conundrum of pregnancy - should it really be easy? Growing a baby and experiencing childbirth is one of those landmark moments in life, a once in a lifetime event that - despite all the complaints listed above - is (in 99.9% of all cases) completely worth it. Should it really be as easy as switching on an incubator and feeding the baby like you would a pet fish?

We'd love to hear your thoughts on growing babies outside of the womb. Comment on the Facebook post and let us know.