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Pregnancy Will Appear Barbaric in 100 Years

Updated on August 12, 2014
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Andrew enjoys taking a look at where the future is leading us by zooming out and taking a look at the big picture.

"We're always going to have to do this"

For millennia, mankind ran after his food, chasing beasts of the wild around with sharpened sticks, finally catching a meal for his family or tribe- or not, then starving to death. This was a way of life, and it governed every waking hour of our existence from sunup to sundown. Hunting for food decided where we would live, and what we would do with our time. Then, one day, everything changed (well, one century, perhaps). People began to plant grains that would grow, and we were suddenly able to survive without running after wild animals so much. We didn't die if we didn't catch the beast of the wild. We could hunker down and stay in one place if we wanted to.

Things can change. Even things that seem immutable, like facts of life. Humanity's way of life was irrevocably improved by the agricultural revolution around 10,000 years ago, and it changed every bit as profoundly with the advent of the industrial revolution between 300 and 500 years ago. It is changing again today with the information age thrust upon us, and one of the areas to benefit the most is the medical industry. This will affect everything from the way we give birth to the way we die (or, rather, don't die).

The organic womb

Source

What happens to the mother during birth

In natural childbirth, the mother often has some pretty messed up things done to her. Here are just a few of the more common ones:

  • Cesarean section (C-section), wherein the woman is sliced open from belly button to just above the vagina
  • Foreceps inside to open the vagina and extract the baby's head
  • Bladder emptied with a catheter
  • Infection can often result from bleeding
  • Hemorrhage can result in death (and often does, especially in the third world)

Pregnancy: a scary proposition

Childbirth is currently the key to the human race's continued existence- at least until consciousness uploading becomes a reality. For millennia, giving birth frequently resulted in the death of the mother as frequently as one in ten births. Fortunately, medical science has continued to reduce this statistic so that only a handful of women per 100,000 die giving birth today, but that doesn't mean it's a pleasant or easy process by any stretch of the imagination. Childbirth still results in prolonged labor, premature birth and the ensuing psychological trauma, abnormal presentation, tremendous pain and trauma, and, ultimately, frequent operations to help get the baby out.

Additionally, pregnancy itself, long before the birth of the child, results in everything from morning sickness to violent mood swings (if you don't think the mood swings can be violent, you haven't been around enough pregnant women). The expectant mother's systems are stretched to their maximum capacity, as more and more energy is devoted to developing the embryo and fetus into a new living being. This can lead to unexpected extra bleeding, early contractions in the third trimester, persistent headaches and severe nausea, and much more unexpected illness and malaise.

Artificial womb

Artificial wombs are already under development, with a great deal of promise from the "law of accelerating returns", as futurist Ray Kurzweil calls it. As information technology improves at an ever-accelerating rate, so every field that relies upon this phenomenon improves its rate of innovation. As we begin to understand how a developing embryo grows better and better at the cellular level, we are also getting to the point where medical imaging technology is constantly improving so that we can see exactly what's going on in there. Similarly, we can give the developing embryo exactly what it needs to grow, and eventually, to become a fetus.

Neonatal intensive care units already offer a very common answer to premature births, and scientists have been growing cells in labs for decades, including "test tube babies" (first one was back in 1977, just two years after I was born). It's now just a matter of closing the gap in between fertilization and early cell growth, and the intensive care units, and it's only a matter of time- and, judging by the acceleration of technology, not much time.

Source

Vote!

Would you consider bringing your child to term outside of a human womb?

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Why not?

Given that pregnancy represents 9 months of terrible, life altering, experience, and childbirth itself offers a chance for death for both the mother and the child, along with a plethora of other terrible maladies, why not carry a child to term under the absolute best environment possible, with 24 hour monitoring and instant access to medical attention?

Paradigms that have been with us forever are going to change who we are as a species over the coming decades. We're already seeing the prolonging of human life (more than double over the last 150 years), and that trend is certainly accelerating now. We've changed the way we live and the way we die. Now it's time to change the way we come into existence.

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    • goatfury profile image
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      Andrew Smith 11 months ago from Richmond, VA

      @asqa - so you're saying it's a really bad idea, and the person who is ultimately produced from it is essentially no more human than a robot, but if you can't reproduce, it's all good in the hood?

    • profile image

      aqsa 11 months ago

      thats a very bad idea ....

      i mean really outside the womb.. :/

      there is a relation between mum n child during these nine months .. thats like producing robots huh ... :/ very stupid idea

      but often this can be applied for those who cant reproduce :)

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 14 months ago from Australia

      Another dumb idea from science like Thalidomide was. Nuts.

    • profile image

      Wow 17 months ago

      Really Roningirl, LeslieAdrienne? It matters that a guy wrote this piece? Well, guess what - I'm a woman, and I'd be very interested in this technology (were I to ever change my mind about bringing new humans into the world). I have no intention of ever getting pregnant - it's too risky, and I have better things to do with my life to be honest... (Also - you can easily BUY an artificial penis. It's called a dildo. I don't see men having a problem with that...)

    • profile image

      Hentaiclone 17 months ago

      Roningirl is an idiot. Not everyone with a vag sees child birth as some beautiful/marvelous event that should give you the warm-fuzzies. I would never consider having a child the old fashioned way. Hell. Naw.

      And yes, I have a uterus. One very much closed for business.

    • LeslieAdrienne profile image

      Leslie A. Shields 17 months ago from Georgia

      I was pondering how I would comment on rhis article when I read Roingirl's comment...... She has spoken heroically and I echo her response wholeheartedly!

      You can tell a guy wrote this.....

    • profile image

      Michelle 17 months ago

      If anyone, including scientists, ever REALLY thought hard about the consequences to the child, they would NEVER give birth, artificially or not. Unfortunately, the mentality (particularly of the Western world) is we get what we want or we do whatever it takes to get it. This is barbaric. We are in the Dark Ages.

    • profile image

      Roningirl 17 months ago

      This is the most stupid fear-mongering article I've ever read. It's clearly written for and by people without wombs who would more readily reinvent them without "all the mess" than try to understand and marvel at their organic, biological beauty. Since this is my sexual reproductive organ you are hocking here like a shifty car salesman, why not try substituting every "womb" with the word "penis," and see how much traction your idiotic idea gets? ...Btw even if artificial wombs were to become a viable or even attractive option, this article fails miserably to present the merits for choosing such an option or a cogent argument (besides fear of the icky unknown) for when this option would be most desirable to pursue.

    • profile image

      Miss 17 months ago

      Y'all keep saying "mother", though. What happens if, say, a male-bodied, gay individual uses this technology to bring a child to term? What happens to the idea of "mother" then? What I find most interesting about these technological possibilities is how they would alter the gender system, since gender so far been rooted in reproductive complementarity.

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 17 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Well, you're absolutely entitled to your opinion. I believe, however, that the future will hold fewer and fewer who cling to this belief. Ultimately, it's only a guess on my part, and time will tell. I do so look forward to the day when we at least have the choice!

      Thanks for taking the time to chime in. It really is appreciated.

    • Victoria Kaufmann profile image

      Vickie K 17 months ago from New Jersey

      This article is very well written and interesting. I found it a bit too clinical in the sense that you have removed all emotion from the matter, and what has more emotion attached to it then pregnancy/child-rearing?

      I have been pregnant four times. I have given birth to three babies. I sadly had a miscarriage at the three month mark during my 3rd pregnancy. It was devastating to me. I also had an emergency C-Section with my last pregnancy. I completely agree that there are risks involved with pregnancy, both emotional and physical. That being said, I would NEVER choose to use any womb other then my own. There is an emotional connection and an experience that ought to be had with pregnancy/labor that is well worth the risk.

      I suppose the point I am trying to make is this: the act of carrying a baby, and delivering it, is so profound and meaningful that to remove that experience from humanity would be a disservice in my opinion.

    • profile image

      Trent Max 2 years ago

      Also, all this stuff about experiences in the womb shaping ones later life is marginal at best. We are born tabla rasa and forget most of our earl childhood for a couple of reasons.

      First, it's traumatic as hell. Second, the reason it is so traumatic is we have no ability to CONCEPTUALIZE until we attain language. Thus we have no ability to reason and therefore lack our own means of survival; given that reason is man's means of survival as proven by Aristotle and Ayn Rand.

    • profile image

      Trent Max 2 years ago

      100 years is pessimistic. It's viable now to raise mice in artificial wombs. The biggest obstacle is government regulators. That's the biggest obstacle to most tech advances, of course. And it's getting worse.

      Personally, I'm not having kids unless it doesn't matter how old I am or whether or not I have a partner in the process. If it's not possible in the next 30 years, it means that society is going backward and we are heading for a new Dark Age, thanks to the same causes as the last one: the combination of government and religion.

    • goatfury profile image
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      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Very interesting take, Erik. I disagree fundamentally that we are moving steadily toward a society more divided than before. Contrary to this view, all evidence points toward poverty declining, and the gap is narrowing, not widening. Nevertheless, you're right - we will have to remain vigilant.

      I'm unconvinced that there is some kind of magical, spiritual, irreplicable bond between mother and child. There is evidence that a lot goes on during the pregnancy that we don't understand, but there is no evidence whatsoever that we will never understand this well enough to replicate it exactly.

    • profile image

      Erik van Lennep 2 years ago

      Look for a massive rise in sociopathic beings coming into the world via artificial wombs, as well as people with profound senses of disconnect, rootlessness and other profound psycho-spiritual disorders. As the world will likely be even more divided along wealth=class lines by then, early uptake will be by the wealthier, who will have better access to leadership roles. This technology will likely tip the tables toward an even less empathic, far more sociopathic leadership cartel than we currently have.

      Seems much of the justification for this technology is still based in the 19th century move to reclassify pregnancy as a disease. Something very successfully done by the medical cartels of the time.

    • goatfury profile image
      Author

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Ian - Valid points. I do think this is very much a possibility, once we better understand the mother/child connection. First will be fetuses that otherwise would be completely doomed (say mothers who die early on in pregnancy), and once that is successful, we'll graduate to less urgent situations, ultimately making ectogenesis for everyone.

    • profile image

      Ian Shankey 2 years ago

      A big part of the Child's development In Utero is the constant feed back from the mother; her voice, touch, heartbeat, etc. I think you'd have to have some sort of future internet based, 2-way communication & feedback system, where the mother's mind is connected to the artificial womb, and in some way she could talk to & touch the outside of the womb, providing the intimacy & familiarity the child would need to develop in a healthy manner.

    • profile image

      rudini 2 years ago

    • goatfury profile image
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      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Ricky-

      You might be thinking of 2045, the hypothetical "magic date" Ray Kurzweil predicts.

    • profile image

      Ricky Ricardo 2 years ago

      Isn't The Singularity supposed to arrive in the 2020's? We'll all be uploaded by then, so the very thought of birth will be obsolete, whether it involves a human or not.

    • profile image

      oldestgeek 2 years ago

      Anything 100 years out is a fantasy not a prediction.

    • goatfury profile image
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      Andrew Smith 3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Absolutely, Glenn. That's the main reason I allowed for 100 years with my (somewhat audacious) headline: we need a lot of time to work out the kinks. Having said that, though, there is simply no justifiable reason to put a mother's life at risk if we can work out the emotional and other unforeseen aspects with artificial womb use.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      The human race is the only species that changes nature. It's interesting that the concept of pregnancy in an artificial womb is potentially possible. There are other things to consider besides feeding the embryo and waste removal. For example, it is known that the fetus experiences what the mother is going through, and this can affect it's future. So I wonder how it's life will be different when it develops in an artificial womb. There may be new kinds of psychological circumstances that are not presently known.

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 3 years ago

      Interesting prerogative. I admit I was entirely unaware that artificial wombs were becoming any sort of viable.

    • profile image

      Hentaiclone 3 years ago

      Not that I would ever want to have a biological child of my own, but if I did in some strange parallel universe, I would only consider going into production if "outside of the womb" was a financially feasible option. My uterus is not an oven. No thanks. DO. NOT. WANT. Yucky.