A group of German scientists claim they are close to creating the world’s first “artificial womb facility,” where fertility specialists can develop “designer babies,” and parents-to-be can watch their fetus grow via smartphone app.
Developed by Hashem Al-Ghalil in Berlin, the EctoLife center claims it will soon employ groundbreaking technology to help create 30,000 babies a year.
“Every single feature mentioned in the concept is 100% science-based and has already been achieved by scientists and engineers,” noted Al-Ghaili in the announcement.
The idea behind the artificial womb facility is that parents can watch their baby develop remotely while picking specific physical characteristics — like eye color, height, strength, and intelligence — from a curated menu. But the facility isn’t intended just for that purpose. It could also assist women who cannot carry a pregnancy healthily to term.
“According to the World Health Organization, around 300,000 women die from pregnancy complications. EctoLife artificial womb is designed to alleviate human suffering and reduce the chances of C-sections,” said Al-Ghaili.
According to Scrubs Mag, the center will contain 75 equipped labs with 400 growth pods, i.e., artificial wombs. The project’s creators claim the technology is ready, but that ethical concerns are blocking the project’s progress.
“Right now, research on human embryos is not allowed beyond 14 days. After 14 days, embryos must be destroyed due to ethical concerns. If these ethical restrictions are relaxed, I give it 10 to 15 years before EctoLife becomes widely used everywhere,” claimed Al-Ghaili.
Babies in the artificial wombs would receive nutrients from two central bioreactors, or artificial umbilical cords. One bioreactor dispenses amniotic fluid to the womb, and the other eliminates waste. Once the baby is fully developed, it’s delivered with a push of a button.
Ebony Williams is a writer, indie producer and director, and journalist for a variety of magazine outlets. Her career has lead her to create content for entertainment, sports, lifestyle, local breaking news and more.