I can do everything through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13

Family Issues

Featured Article:
Artificially Born


It must have been over 20 years ago that I read about scientists in Japan who had worked on creating an “artificial womb” in order to bear children. I distinctly remember the author saying its practical use would take another ten years. I have since learned that in science saying “ten years” is like saying, “We don’t have the foggiest idea how long it will take!”  In the case of the artificial womb it has obviously taken longer – yet progress has been made.

According to an abstract in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, artificial womb  experimentation was reported on at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Reproductive Investigation, Orlando, FL, March 15-18, 2017, and the 69th Annual Congress of the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hiroshima, Japan, April 13-16, 2017. In a paper entitled, “Successful maintenance of key physiological parameters in preterm lambs treated with ex vivo uterine environment therapy for a period of 1 week,” researchers reported that they removed six fetal lambs by C-section from ewes at 112-115 days of gestation. The average lamb gestation period is 147 days (for humans it is about 280 days). For one week, five of the six fetal lambs were sustained in the artificial womb and then euthanized.

In the April 25, 2017, online article in Nature entitled, “An extra-uterine system to physiologically support the extreme premature lamb,” researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia stated that they were able to sustain fetal lambs up to four weeks in an artificial womb. In the Philadelphia experiment eight lambs were delivered by C-section. Five were at 105-108 days of gestation, and three were at 115-120 days of gestation.  According to the Nature article, animal protocol limitations required the experiment to end after 28 days. The lambs were removed to artificial ventilation. One is reportedly still alive a year after the experiment.

The artificial womb (sometimes called an artificial uterus) consists of what can be described as a large sandwich bag capable of holding the fetal lamb along with a chemical concoction that acts like amniotic fluid with cabling attached through an interface to the umbilical cord of each lamb to provide continuous nutrition.

In the Abstract of the Nature article, the Philadelphia researchers reported, “We show that fetal lambs that are developmentally equivalent to the extreme premature human infant can be physiologically supported in this extra-uterine device for up to 4 weeks.”

The goal with these experiments is to eventually provide an artificial womb to help sustain the life of a child who would otherwise die from being born too prematurely. The estimate is that human testing is still three to five years away, although the team is already in negotiations with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin the process.

As this brings us closer to sustaining pregnancies artificially it raises new challenges with regard to abortion, abortion language, and abortion legislation.

On Flipboard, Professor I. Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law School wrote a thought-provoking piece entitled, “Artificial wombs are coming. They could completely change the debate over abortion.” You can also hear Professor Cohen dissect the abortion argument in a YouTube video clip entitled, “Abortion and Personhood: What the Moral Dilemma Is Really About.” It is a relatively short but worthwhile listen. Professor Cohen observes that the development of  an artificial womb creates new challenges to the legal and moral understanding of abortion in American culture.

Also, you will find some great video clips and news coverage on this topic on the CBS News website along with a very descriptive article and video clips on The Verge entitled, “An artificial womb successfully grew baby sheep — and humans could be next.”

What is lacking in this debate is a discussion on the role of the Christian faith in these advancements.  As I see it, artificial wombs have the potential to preserve human life. To that end and based on successful research, it could be a wonderful and life-saving development.  Nevertheless, we human beings have a terrific knack of making bad come out of good. With artificial reproductive technology (ART), surrogate parenting, and CRISPR technology, we already see reproduction reduced to a science with no acknowledgment of the Creator. With artificial wombs, how long do you think it will take before the role mothers and pregnancy become obsolete?

So, as with many other such progresses that we have made, I rejoice in the potential good and fear the potential bad that can result from this development.

~ Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director of Christian Life Resources

   August 24, 2017


More Family Issues Articles



Burden Sharing Part 6 of 6: Questions
Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamb once said it was wrong for the elderly to become a burden upon their family and society. God's Word tells us something different. This is Part...
October 1st, 2004
Bible Study: [Series for Christian Fathers] Servant-Leadership in the Family - Part 1 [Leader's Guide]
This is the leader's guide to the first in a series of three Bible studies for fathers. In this series, we will examine what God says in His Word about a father's role in the family,...
October 1st, 2004
Sharing the Facts of Life
I trusted him when he told me, "I love you." He trusted me when I said the same. We trusted our emotions when they said, "It's OK. Show each other how much you care." When our relationship...
October 1st, 2004
When Dad Hits Mom
Seven suggestions to make your congregation safe for victims of domestic violence.In my career as a prosecutor, I have worked with hundreds of victims of domestic violence. I have seen...
October 1st, 2004
Understanding Parenting Teenage Mothers
In 1988, while looking for organizations specifically serving parenting teenage mothers, I was saddened by the realization that very few such organizations existed. There were many...
October 1st, 2004
Hospital Devotions - 25
Matthew 28:20 - Surely I will be with you always...I miss my room! I miss my bed! I miss my TV and stereo! I miss my toys and my dolls and my pet! I miss my mom and dad! I don’t...
October 1st, 2004
Hospital Devotions - 10
Psalm 46:1-2 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.There are times when the words of Psalm 46 seem hollow to us. After all,...
October 1st, 2004
It's Like Running a Race: A Look at Christian Child-Rearing
I dont know about you, but I really hate running. Its hard work. Ive found it can even make you sweat if youre not careful. I despise running so much that, as a general rule, there...
October 1st, 2004
Burden Sharing Part 6 of 6: Answers
Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamb once said it was wrong for the elderly to become a burden upon their family and society. God's Word tells us something different. This is Part...
October 1st, 2004
Bible Study: [Series for Christian Fathers] Servant-Leadership in the Family - Part 2 [Student's Guide]
Before we begin this portion of our Bible study, we need to review the principles of servant-leadership that we studied in our last lesson.Read each of the following passages and use...
October 1st, 2004


Things to Consider

Faith and Planned Parenthood - THE LATEST PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE ISSUES BY CLR'S NATIONAL DIRECTOR

In 2015 The Center for Medical Progress secretly video recorded conversations with executives from Planned Parenthood. The topic was the gruesome practice of selling fetal body parts...

more...

Would a friend, relative, or acquaintance find a particular page or article useful? Fill out the form below to send it to a friend!

 
 Your Name:    
 Your Email:    
   
 Friend's Name:    
 Friend's Email:    
 Include Note:    
 Type the 2 words:
 

Please fill out the small form below to leave a comment or suggestion about the page you were just visiting.  Any and all feedback is appreciated!  Your feedback will help make our website even better.

 
 Your Name:    
 Email:    
 Phone:    
 Feedback:    
 Type the 2 words:
 
Quantcast