Smajdor on Ectogenesis

Anna Smajdor has written an article in which she argues that artificial wombs, or ectogenesis as she calls it, are a moral imperative. Her argument is that pregnancy creates a fundamental inequality between men and women.

Firstly, since women who are pursuing a career tend to delay to get children this results in lower fertility rates as the older woman become, the lower their fertility becomes. Therefore there is some social pressure, in the light of an aging population, on women to reproduce at a younger age – at the cost of having a career. Men, however, are not subject to this.

Secondly, and more importantly to Smajdor, is that pregnancy impose a serious risk on women. She mentions that fifteen percent of pregnancies result in life-threatening complications. And safe for direct concern for life, pregnant women suffer from other health issues. Smajdor goes even so far to call pregnancy barbaric. And again men do not suffer any serious risk when they father children.

Though society at large benefits from pregnancy and subsequent births, e.g. by maintaining the work force, the costs are unfairly imposed upon only one half of society.

Smajdor is not convinced by the argument that women voluntarily chose to become mothers. She argues that men do not share in any of the risks and hence women are still at a disadvantage. Nor does she believes that using surrogates is a satisfying solution either. This mere shifts the risk to some one else.

In her opinion the only morally acceptable solution is by eliminating the need to gestate in vivo all together. Or put simply, to use artificial wombs instead. Ectogenesis, she argues, will free women from the burden of pregnancy and create a more equal society.


The Moral Imperative for Ectogenesis by Anna Smajdor


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