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What is an artificial womb?

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Quick Answer

An artificial womb is a medical device in which fetuses are theoretically able to gestate. As of 2014, current research has only had success in keeping goat and mouse embryos and one human embryo alive for a matter of days inside a machine filled with amniotic fluid.

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Full Answer

As of 2014, U.S. law does not allow for ectogenesis, which is the nurturing of human embryos and fetuses outside of a woman's uterus, for more than 14 days. The estimates are that it a human fetus is not likely to gestate fully within an artificial womb until at least 2024.

The idea is controversial. One critique worries about a lack of mother-child intimacy for babies gestated in such a way.

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