Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. - Psalm 119:105

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

They Shoot Horses... - A Look at Compassion at the End of Life
True Confessions: Forty years ago I took a first date to see the movie, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”Based on a 1930s novel, the movie was technically well done...
June 18th, 2010
Managing the Tough Decisions - Discussing End-of-Life Options with Loved Ones
Julie rushed to the hospital after hearing about her Dad’s stroke. Upon her arrival, Julie was greeted by David, the social worker, who immediately escorted her into a private...
June 18th, 2010
RECIPE: Danish Puff
Just as CLR offers “food for the soul” in bite-sized insights about Christian living, we also offer “food for the body” with recipe favorites. Enjoy this selection!...
June 18th, 2010
The Shepherd Restores a Soul: A Look at Caregiving and Alzheimers Disease
Editor’s Note: This is the sixth and final installment in a series of articles written by Ms. Linda Lawrence that addresses the challenges and blessings in caring for an aging...
June 17th, 2010
Making the Most of Time in End-of-Life Matters
It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, and the temperature is in the upper sixties. Spring in Wisconsin can be unpredictable. Today’s taste of summer might be followed...
June 17th, 2010
Whats So New About Love? A Look at Christian Caregiving and Burden Sharing
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”...
June 17th, 2010
Treasured: A Look at Caregiving and Alzheimers Disease
Editor’s Note: This is fifth in a series of articles written by Ms. Linda Lawrence that addresses the challenges and blessings in caring for an aging parent.Mom has lived in a...
March 18th, 2010
Living Large in Your Christian Home Life
Living Large – To live an extravagant or self-indulgent lifestyle. ( Is your family living large? I'm not talking about a life of luxury. This is about a different...
March 18th, 2010
RECIPE: Poppy Seed Cranberry Salad
3 cups mixed spring greens1 cup iceberg lettuce (torn into bit-size pieces)½-1 cup dried cranberries½-1 cup cashews1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese1-2 Granny Smith...
March 16th, 2010
Teaching Lesson About Life: Learning From a Lima Bean
Materials:Lima beansToothpicksJar or bowlPaper towelsOPTIONAL: Magnifying glassesYou will need at least one lima bean and a toothpick for each child or group. (A magnifying glass would...
March 16th, 2010

Things to Consider


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...


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:    
 Type the 2 words: