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What happens when women, like men, can be parents without bearing children?  Does one form of gestation become a status symbol? Another a stigma? Who decides which gestation environment is healthier or more economical? You? Your gamete-partner? Your priest? Your employer? Your insurance company? If we think we have a complicated debate now, just wait. The current War on Women pales in comparison to the potential impact that ectogenesis, a technology in which a human fetus gestates completely out of a mother’s body, will have. It is, in its ultimate manifestation, qualitatively different from birth control or other assisted reproductive technologies. This change has the power to alter, in unprecedented ways, the interests, rights and responsibilities of women, men and the state.

J.B.S. Haldane, a British scientist, who predicted that by 2074 live human births would make up less than 30 percent of all births, first coined the term ectogenesis in 1924. His prediction was ambitious, but not unrealistic.  Despite the sci-fi horrors evoked by “artificial wombs,” this isn’t the stuff of dark dystopias. It is a partially realized,... see more