[extropy-chat] "Artificial" Womb
george at betterhumans.com
Thu Oct 19 19:50:13 UTC 2006
A B wrote:
> Does this sound about right, or am I grossly
> oversimplifying things?
First, all fetus's require nutrients from the mother's blood stream.
This means that an artificial womb would somehow have to duplicate the
mother's blood exactly. Moreover, the mother's blood changes hour to
hour depending on her intake; pregnant women have unpredictable food
cravings and aversions during pregnancy -- all of which are evolutionary
adaptations that help in the gestational process. Moreover, infants
require motion, tactile stimulation (e.g. expectant mothers rub their
bellies), and auditory and even visual stimulation.
After child birth, babies need to breastfeed. Pregnancy prepares the
mother's body physically and hormonally to nuture infants outside of the
womb. Newborns require skin-to-skin contact that helps in bonding and
perceptual development. And no artificial baby milk has come even close
to matching mother's milk. There is more than just the ideal proportion
of proteins, fats (including long-chain polyunsaturated lipids that are
essential for optimal neurodevelopment), and carbohydrates, vitamins,
and minerals present in breastmilk that change even during one feed;
breastmilk also contains human-specific immune factors, growth factors,
anti-bacterial agents, anti-viral properties, anti-fungal properties,
and anti-inflammatory properties.
Also, the health risks associated with not bearing children or lactating
must be weighed against the potential health benefits to a woman for not
bearing children. Specifically, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers are
significantly lower for women who have born and breastfed children.
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