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Research Priorities and the Future of Pregnancy


The term “ectogenesis” has been around for about a century now, and it is generally understood as the development of embryos and fetuses outside a uterus. In this sense, all in vitro fertilization (IVF) is ectogenesis, but in vitro development can only proceed to a certain point, at which time human embryos are then either implanted in the attempt to achieve a pregnancy, frozen for that use in the future, used in research, or discarded.

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1. Klass, P.The artificial womb is born. New York Times 1996 Sept 29.

2. Liu, HC, He, Z, Chen, C, Rosenwaks, Z. Ability of three-dimensional (3D) engineered endrometrial tissue to support mouse gastrulation in vitro. Fertility and Sterility 2003;80:78.

3. Smajdor, A.The moral imperative for ectogenesis. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 2007;16:336–45.

4. Smajdor 2007, at 340.

5. Ber, R.Ethical issues in gestational surrogacy. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2000;21:153–69.

6. Smajdor 2007, at 343.

7. Burley, J. The price of eggs: Who should bear the cost of fertility treatments? In: Harris, J, Holm, S, eds. The Future of Human Reproduction: Ethics, Choice, and Regulation. Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1998:127–49.

8. Dworkin, R. Foundations of liberal equality. In: Peterson, GB, ed. The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, vol. XI. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press; 1990:3–119.

9. Smajdor 2007, at 338.

10. Ibid., at 343.

11. Rawls, J.Justice as Fairness. Cambridge: Belknap Press; 1971:42–3.

12. Rawls 1971, at 60.

13. Ibid., at 42–3.

14. Smajdor 2007, at 339.

15. Ibid., at 340.

16. Cunningham, FG, Gant, NF, Leveno, KJ, Gilstrap, LC, Hauth, JC, Wenstrom, KD.Williams Obstetrics, 21st ed.New York: McGraw-Hill; 2001.

17. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. “Maternal Mortality and Related Concepts,” Feb 2007; available at (last accessed 26 Sept 2011).

18. Maternal Mortality in 2005: Estimates Developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank. World Health Organization, Geneva 2007; available at (last accessed 26 Sept 2011).

19. Smajdor 2007, at 339.

20. Ibid., 343.

21. National Vital Statistics, 2009;57 (Apr 17); available at (last accessed 26 Sept 2011).

22. Smajdor 2007, at 340.

23. Murphy, TF. The ethics of responding to pain and suffering. In: Angelos, P, ed. Ethical Issues in Cancer Patient Care, 2nd ed. New York: Springer; 2008:117–34.

24. Smajdor 2007, at 340.

25. Ibid., at 341.

26. Takala, T. Human before sex? Ectogenesis as a way to equality. In: Simonstein, F, ed. Reprogen-Ethics and the Future of Gender. Dordrecht: Springer; 2009:187–95.

27. Spain: 10-year-old gives birth. New York Times 2010 Nov 3.

28. Heffner, CJ.Advanced maternal age. How old is too old? New England Journal of Medicine 2004;351:1927–9.

29. Mori, TT.Post-menopausal pregnancy is permissible for women below 60 years of age. Human Reproduction 1994:9:187.

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Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
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