"A WOMB WITH A VIEW"
by Dee Finney
12-31-01 - DREAM - I discovered a really weird event. Babies were born, weighing about 25 pounds. However, no baby had a head, hands or feet. They were just bodies and very chubby. They were judged on quality by how many questions they could answer off of a written test. How they could answer without heads, I couldn't say.
The woman who gave birth to these babies was similar to the babies. She was like a baby machine. - no head, no hands, no feet. If you wanted a baby, you placed some kind of material into a large door into the woman's abdomen, and when it was deemed ready, one opened the door in the woman's stomach and took the baby out.
It was completely bloodless and unemotional.
Men redundant? Now we don't need women either
Scientists have developed an artificial womb that allows embryos to grow
outside the body
Sunday February 10, 2002
Doctors are developing artificial wombs in which embryos can grow outside a woman's body. The work has been hailed as a breakthrough in treating the childless.
Scientists have created prototypes made out of cells extracted from women's bodies. Embryos successfully attached themselves to the walls of these laboratory wombs and began to grow. However, experiments had to be terminated after a few days to comply with in-vitro fertilisation (IVF)
'We hope to create complete artificial wombs using these techniques in a few years,' said Dr Hung-Ching Liu of Cornell University's Centre for
Reproductive Medicine and Infertility. 'Women with damaged uteruses and wombs will be able to have babies for the first time.'
The pace of progress in the field has startled experts. Artificial wombs
could end many women's childbirth problems - but they also raise major
ethical headaches which will be debated at a major international conference titled 'The End of Natural Motherhood?' in Oklahoma next week.
'There are going to be real problems,' said organiser Dr Scott Gelfand, of
Oklahoma State University. 'Some feminists even say artificial wombs mean men could eliminate women from the planet and still perpetuate our species. That's a bit alarmist. Nevertheless, this subject clearly raises strong feelings.'
Liu's work involves removing cells from the endometrium, the lining of the
womb. 'We have learnt how to grow these cells in the laboratory using
hormones and growth factors,' she said.
After this Liu and her colleagues grew layers of these cells on scaffolds of
biodegradable material which had been modelled into shapes mirroring the
interior of the uterus. The cells grew into tissue and the scaffold
dissolved. Then nutrients and hormones such as oestrogen were added to the tissue.
'Finally, we took embryos left over from IVF programmes and put these into our laboratory engineered tissue. The embryos attached themselves to the walls of our prototype wombs and began to settle there.'
The experiments were halted after six days. However, Liu now plans to
continue with this research and allow embryos to grow in the artificial
wombs for 14 days, the maximum permitted by IVF legislation. 'We will then see if the embryos put down roots and veins into our artificial wombs'
walls, and see if their cells differentiate into primitive organs and
develop a primitive placenta.'
The immediate aim of this work is to help women whose damaged wombs prevent them from conceiving. An artificial womb would be made from their own endometrium cells, an embryo placed inside it, and allowed to settle and grow before the whole package is placed back in her body.
'The new womb would be made of the woman's own cells. so there would be no danger of organ rejection,' Liu added.
However, her research is currently limited by IVF legislation. 'The next
stage will involve experiments with mice or dogs. If that works, we shall
ask to take our work beyond the 14-day limit now imposed on such research.'
A different approach has been taken by Yoshinori Kuwabara at Juntendo
University in Tokyo. His team has removed foetuses from goats and placed them in clear plastic tanks filled with amniotic fluid stabilised at body temperature. In this way, Kuwabara has kept goat foetuses alive and growing for up to 10 days by connecting their umbilical cords to machines that pump in nutrients and dispose of waste.
While Liu's work is aimed at helping those having difficulty conceiving,
Kuwabara's is designed to help women who suffer miscarriages or very
premature births. In this way Liu is extending the time an embryo can exist in a laboratory before being placed in a woman's body; Kuwabara is trying to give a foetus a safe home if expelled too early from its natural womb.
Crucially, both believe artificial wombs capable of sustaining a child for
nine months will become reality in a few years.
'Essentially research is moving towards the same goal but from opposite
directions,' UK fertility expert Dr Simon Fishel, of Park Hospital,
Nottingham, said. 'Getting them to meet in the middle will not be easy,
however. There are so many critical stages of pregnancy, and so many factors to get right. Nevertheless, this work is very exciting.'
It also has serious ethical implications, as Gelfand pointed out. 'For a
start, there is the issue of abortion. A woman is usually allowed to have
one on the grounds she wants to get rid of something alien inside her own
'At present, this means killing the foetus. But if artificial wombs are
developed, the foetus could be placed in one, and the woman told she has to look after it once it has developed into a child.'
In addition, if combined with cloning technology, artificial wombs raise the
prospect that gay couples could give 'birth' to their own children. 'This
would no doubt horrify right-wingers, while the implications for abortion
law might well please them,' he added.
Gelfand also warned that artificial wombs could have unexpected consequences for working women and health insurance. 'They would mean that women would no longer need maternity leave - which employers could become increasingly reluctant to give.
'It may also turn out that artificial wombs provide safer environments than
natural wombs which can be invaded by drugs and alcohol from a mother's
body. Health insurance companies could actually insist that women opt for
the artificial way.
'Certainly, this is going to raise a lot of tricky problems.'
Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002
|10:20 AM ET 07/18/97
Japanese scientist develops artificial womb
TOKYO (Reuter) - A Japanese scientist has developed an artificial womb capable of incubating goat fetuses but it may take 10 years before it could be used to save human babies, he said Friday.
``We're aiming eventually to use the technology for human fetuses but it will take maybe 10 years,'' Juntendo University gynecology professor Yoshinori Kuwabara told Reuters. Kuwabara's findings have been published in the Journal of the Japan Medical Association, the country's medical review publication.
Kuwabara said he had maintained goat fetuses for up to three weeks in a plastic tank, until the end of their incubation period, but it would be some time before if could be used for human fetuses.
``Other researchers around the world have managed to maintain fetuses outside the womb for up to several days but we're the only ones who have sustained life in an artificial womb for so long,'' Kuwabara said.
The artificial womb is a rectangular clear plastic box filled with amniotic fluid at body temperature and connected to an array of devices for vital functions.
The fetus lies submerged in the tank womb which replaces oxygen and cleans the fetus' blood with a dialysis machine connected to the umbilical cord, he added.
Professor Koyo Yoshida, a member of Kuwabara's research team, said he was wary of exaggerations by the press of a miracle artificial womb which could free women of the pain of childbirth.
``Some of the stories printed in the British press are only half true. We are not trying to extend the possible incubation period in the artificial womb right now. Three weeks is the limit with the technology we have now,'' he said. Many of the experimental goat fetuses incubated in the artificial womb only survived for a few days after being taken out of the tank although some remained alive for much longer, he added.
``The next step is to see how the fetus develops after it has been taken out of the artificial womb,'' Kuwabara said. Although his team has experimented for over 10 years, it was still early to hope for a quick end to miscarriages and premature baby fatalities through the use of an artificial womb, he added.
From: "Richard Schroeppel" <email@example.com>
Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
BOSTON (July 22, 1997 9:09 p.m. EDT) -- Scientists have grown replacement organs for sheep, rats and rabbits using the animals' own cells and lab molds to help the tissue take shape -- a technique that could be used someday to make spare parts for people.
While scientists have already found ways to grow skin and cartilage, two
Harvard researchers claim to be the first to have grown animal tissue from a variety of organs, including the heart, kidneys and bladder.
"As surgeons, that's what we dream about -- having a shelf full of body parts," said Dr. Anthony Atala, who pioneered the technique with Dario Fauza.
Their new method -- to be presented Wednesday at a conference of the British Association of Pediatric Surgeons in Istanbul, Turkey -- has already been used to build new bladders and windpipes for sheep, a kidney for a rat, and leg muscles for a rabbit. The organs -- built with tissue taken from both grown and fetal animals -- were transplanted into those creatures and have worked just fine so far, the researchers said.
The two doctors said the greatest hope for the technique could be in correcting common birth defects. They have developed a method for growing replacement organs for newborns while they are still in the womb. For example, if a fetus has a malformed trachea, surgeons could extract some of those cells from the womb, grow the new windpipe in the lab and have it ready to be transplanted when the baby is born.
Tests on humans, in the womb and out, are set to begin within a year, and the researchers hope to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for routine use within five years.
Cornell University researcher Thomas McDonald, who studies the development of sheep fetuses, said the method appears to be a way around the biggest obstacle to organ transplants -- the body's rejection of foreign parts. Normally, surgeons have been forced to use mismatched tissues to repair defects, like a piece of intestine to patch a hole in the bladder.
The procedure is tricky and requires balancing delicate laboratory work with microscopic surgery inside the womb. Doctors first detect birth defects using ultrasound, as early as 3 1/2 months into pregnancy. They operate on the fetus two-thirds of the way through pregnancy. Through small incisions, they lower a surgical camera and long, narrow instruments into the womb. Guided by a large video monitor, they remove a pea-size sample of the defective organ. Drugs are used to prevent the mother from going into labor.
Then it's on to the laboratory. Under ventilation hoods, lab technicians separate different types of cells and place them in dishes of a clear solution rich in proteins and nutrients. With the solution -- which is the key to the process -- the tissue can grow in an incubator at an astounding rate. A sample the size of a square centimeter could produce enough tissue within two months to cover two football fields.
Next, Atala and Fauza build the organ by draping fragile tissue over
biodegradable scaffolds. In the case of a sheep's bladder, it was fashioned by layering epithelial cells on the inside of a cup-shaped structure and muscle cells on the outside. Atala said the bladder cells know which way to orient themselves to each other and grow until they fill out the scaffold.
Within six weeks of surgery, the new bladder is ready. It was transplanted in the newborn sheep and functions as it should.
By DAVE HOWLAND, Associated Press Writer
Cloning Embryonic Nightmare
(c) The Associated Press
LONDON (AP) - British scientists have created a frog embryo without a head, a technique that may lead to the production of headless human clones to grow organs and tissue for transplant, The Sunday Times reported.
None of the embryos grown by scientists at Bath University were allowed to live longer than a week, the newspaper reported in its early edition Saturday.
But the scientists believe the technique could be adapted to grow human organs such as hearts, kidneys, and livers in an embryonic sac living in an artificial womb.
Many scientists believe human cloning is inevitable following the birth of the sheep Dolly, the world's first cloned mammal, at a laboratory in Scotland. Scientists at The Roslin Institute in Edinburgh created Dolly using cells from the udder of a dead sheep.
The Sunday Times said the two techniques could be combined so that people needing transplants could have organs "grown to order'' from their own cloned cells.
The genetic composition of grown organs would exactly match those of the patient, eliminating the threat of rejection. It would also ease the shortage of organs for transplant.
Growing partial embryos to cultivate customized organs could bypass
legal restrictions and ethical concerns, because without a brain or
central nervous system, the organisms may not technically qualify as
"Instead of growing an intact embryo, you could genetically reprogram the embryo to suppress growth in all the parts of the body except the bits you want, plus a heart and blood circulation,'' said embryologist Jonathan Slack, professor at Bath University.
Some scientists accuse Slack of meddling with nature.
"It's scientific fascism because we would be creating other beings whose very existence would be to serve the dominant group,'' Oxford University animal ethicist Professor Andrew Linzey said.
"It is morally regressive to create a mutant form of life,'' he said.
But Lewis Wolpert, professor at University College London, said Slack's suggestions did not raise ethical issues "because you are not doing any harm to anyone.''
Headless frog embryos can be created with relative ease by manipulating certain genes, suppressing development of a tadpole's head, trunk and tail.
Slack believes the breakthrough could be applied to human embryos because the same genes perform similar functions in both frogs and humans.
Under current government rules, Slack's embryos are not considered
animals until they are a week-old, when they have to be destroyed.
We learned that in 1973, Betty Andreason was brought to comfort a human surrogate mother during the birth of two fetuses. We learned that the Greys were actually adult human fetuses grown in an artificial womb, that the Greys, and what appeared to be hybrids, were being raised in a biosphere on the ship. We learned that the reason for abductions and the genetic engineering was because that lifeforms on Earth were becoming sterile.
(Article no longer exists on the web)
Alleged alien abductees report that they saw small alien like beings and adult humans in a state of suspended animation
inside tube like incubators. Some of these abductees claim that the humans looked altered like hybrids.[14,19] These would fit
the hypothesis of genetic research done by the ''greys.'' But there are also cases where abductees report human doctors
escorting them through underground laboratories where they have seen humans in clear tanks. MILAB victim Christa Tilton
described such an experience as:
The Space Travel Argument contends that the launching of a universal constructor would increase the probability of the survival of a civilization. If a civilization possessed artificial womb technology, they could program a probe to synthesize members of their species in the other stellar system. These members could then be raised in a colony by robots also manufactured by the probe. The Space Travel Argument seems to put forth the idea that it is wise to populate the stars with "machine descendants" since that civilization would never become extinct. So, in Martha Stewart's words, 'it's a good thing.'
Budd Hopkins introduced many of us to evidence of human-alien hybridization through the experiences of "Kathy Davis" and others in Intruders. While she raised two of her children, she apparently carried two for over three months that were raised by aliens, and she was told there
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