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EctoLife : the world’s first artificial womb facility?
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2022
It looks like a scene from The Matrix. Rows upon rows of babies are developing in the ‘world’s first artificial womb facility,’ which can supposedly incubate up to 30,000 lab-grown children per year.
EctoLife, the ‘world’s first artificial womb facility’ is just a concept for now, which offers a way for parents to produce customised babies. The concept is the brainchild of Berlin-based Hashem Al-Ghaili, a producer, filmmaker and science communicator and molecular biologist by trade”, as per his website.
It offers parents to ‘produce’ customised babies with the help of artificial wombs. An ‘Elite Package’ would allow people to choose their baby’s level of intelligence, height, hair, eye colour, physical strength and even skin tone.
The concept of EctoLife is based on over fifty years of groundbreaking scientific research” by researchers globally, says Al-Ghaili
The facility – which would run on renewable energy -plans to house 75 labs, each equipped with up to 400 growth pods or artificial wombs. These pods are designed to provide the same environment that is present inside a mother’s womb.
Parents can keep a track of their baby’s growth and development through a screen on the pods that showcase real-time data. This data can also be monitored via an app on the phone.
On his website (https://hashem-alghaili.com) Al-Ghaili says he uses his “background in science and technology to develop brand-new concepts”. He speaks of “imagining the future,” though some online have clearly mistaken his latest film as a real-life advert.
In the video, for a fictional facility called EctoLife, we hear that artificial wombs could provide a solution for cancer patients who’ve had their uteruses removed, that they could reduce pregnancy complications, and that the pods will help countries experiencing population decline, such as Japan, Bulgaria, South Korea.
Hashem says he believes this technology is ready and that we could see such facilities in as little as 10 years.
Experts believe the technology is not that far-fetched and could become a reality in the future. Al-Ghaili believes that artificial womb facilities could become a reality in 10 years or so if ethical restrictions are removed. “Every single feature mentioned in the concept is 100 per cent science-based and has already been achieved by scientists and engineers”, he said.
He says once ethical constraints are relaxed, people can be willing to adopt the technology in the near future.
“In terms of timeframe, it really depends on the ethical guidelines. Right now, research on human embryos is not allowed beyond 14 days. After 14 days, embryos must be destroyed due to ethical concerns”, the producer said.
“If these ethical restrictions are relaxed, I give it 10 to 15 years before EctoLife becomes widely used everywhere”.
“Add to that five years of public awareness and education to help people become more receptive to the technology”, Al-Ghaili added.