Imagine, the next time you want to have a child there might not be a need for a mother, at least her womb. Science is coming up with a way to eliminate the need for a mothers’ womb or a sergeant mother, in what they are calling “the new fashioned way”: growing the embryo in an artificial womb. Doctors are developing artificial wombs in which embryos can grow outside 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 fertilization (IVF) regulations. “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. There are going to be real problems,’ said organizer Dr Scott Gelfand, of Oklahoma State University, where these conferences are to be held. Dr. Gelfand goes on to say, “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 entails 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 fellow researchers grew layers of these cells on scaffolds of biodegradable material, which had been modeled into shapes imitating the inside of the uterus. The cells grew into tissue and the scaffold dissolved. Then nutrients and hormones such as estrogen were added to the tissue. “Finally, we took embryos left over from IVF programmes and put these into our laboratory engineered tissue.
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