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Artificial uterus aka ectogenesis

Discussion in 'Allopathic' started by Dock1234, 04.12.12.

  1. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    Do you think that in next few decades it will be possible to grow baby entirely outside mothers body in a artificial uterus. Or do you think that embryo and mother have so complex crosstalk that it cannot be replicated succesfully?

    Heres an interesting link about it:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/feb/10/medicalscience.research

    What do you think about it?
    Last edited: 04.12.12
  2. Charles_Carmichael

    Charles_Carmichael Moderator Emeritus Bronze Donor

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    I don't think this will happen anytime soon. Also, your link gives a 404 error.
  3. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    Link fixed.
  4. dr zaius

    dr zaius Lowly Intern

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    It will be interesting to see how conservatives react to this. The article brings up the possibility that a woman wanting an abortion would have the fetus removed and placed in an artificial womb and forced to take care of it. It also brings up the idea that gay couples could "birth" a child.
  5. tco

    tco

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    This is literally a decade old.
  6. Cinclus

    Cinclus =^..^= Moderator Emeritus

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    As a female who isn't exactly thrilled by the various horrors of pregnancy, I think it's a great idea. :thumbup:
  7. dr zaius

    dr zaius Lowly Intern

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    Wow. Good catch. Didn't even notice.
  8. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    I don't think the cross talk is too complex to allow this. If that were so we wouldn't have to worry so much about ectopic pregnancies (which if unchecked can potentially go to term, right?)
  9. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    Well, the cross talk still happens, even if it is ectopic pregnancy. It just doesn't happen in uterine. Or how do you think that fetuses in ectopic pregnancies get nutrients, oxygen etc?
  10. Guillemot

    Guillemot

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    I would rather see them start using chimpanzees or something along those lines as surrogate mothers. I think that would really freak people out.
  11. PMPMD

    PMPMD 4G MD

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    It would be nice if parents would take care of the ones born in normal uteri.
  12. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    by leeching them from whatever tissues they are attached to :prof:

    this does not constitute crosstalk. Instead it stands as evidence that embryos are somewhat hardy and do not need a very narrowly defined environment in which to grow. Also, to a fair extent, the embryo creates its own environment.
  13. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    But this tissue they are attached is part of mothers body.... So every molecule passing from this tissue to embryo is essentially part of crosstalk. Do you really think that maternal hormones, nutrients, growth factors, oxygen etc. doesn't play any role in embryonic development? Because embryo or fetus is totally in need of maternal organs to support it growth, I would say that there is huge and complex cross talk going on. Or do you really think that pregnancy could occur with only small part of tissue without other parts of mother`s body?
  14. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    You need to define "crosstalk". I think that implies give and take. There is no give and take in pregnancy. There is only take. Even things the mother releases or downregulates are due to fetal hijacking. I would put money down saying we could grow a fetus to term in culture media provided we can properly profuse the placenta.
  15. Tatiana3325

    Tatiana3325 Removed

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    Is this what playing with fire looks like?

    Also, isn't this how cylons are grown?
  16. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    No. Cyclones are born from butterflies, and playing with fire is significantly more awesome
  17. Tatiana3325

    Tatiana3325 Removed

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    I said Cylon.... Battlestar Galactica
  18. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    Oh my bad... It's early...
  19. Tatiana3325

    Tatiana3325 Removed

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    No problem.
  20. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    Well I think that the fact how hard is it to save premature babies, so how impossible this basically is. Precnancy isn't just about the uterus, its about the whole body of mother that the baby needs to survive.

    Or what do you think?
  21. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    nothing in the underlined supports the bold. early premies die because their lungs are not developed enough to breathe on their own. This is why steroid injections can be given to premies. It will ramp up lung development and, if successful, the child can survive. None of this has anything to do with the body or physiology of the mother.
  22. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    Well it does tell that baby needs mothers lungs because babies lungs aren't developed.
    so at least it tell us, that before we have artificial lungs to save every pulmonary patients, we will not have artificial lungs. And probably other mothers organs are vital too.

    Btw, are you high when you say that it doesn't have anything to do with mothers physiology? Tell me how baby would get the oxygen if mothers lungs wouldn't work? How that has nothing to do with the mothers physiology or organs?!!
  23. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    you are emphasizing the word "mother" in a topic discussing the validity of an artificial uterus and your argument is that the "crosstalk" between mother and fetus is too complex to be re-created. Nothing you are saying is supporting this position. It is bad enough that I must reiterate my own points, but it gets just silly when I have to remind you of your own... no, I was not high, simply born with the rare gift to track a conversation.

    Yes, the mother's lungs are important to a fetus - only because it does not have its own and only because those are the only ones available in a normal birth. This is no way implies some complex cross-talk. I already covered this earlier when I said I would bet good money that we could grow a fetus to term in a vat of cell culture media assuming we could perfuse the placenta once the fetus is too large for simple oxygen diffusion to cover requirements.

    english isnt your first language, is it? I am noticing some interesting sentence structures.....
  24. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    Yes english isn't my native language.

    But you have to admit that first we have to create artificial lungs, and I would say that is pretty hard, right? Probably something like liver and pancreas are quite must too. Not to mention mothers effect in fetal immunology. Basically embryo and fetus needs all the mothers organs, because it doesn't have own. Im not saying it impossible, but I would say that first we will have a artificial organs for every patient and every preterm baby will be saved. And thats a long run, if ever possible.

    Btw, if it is really so easy, why don't you create a incubator that saves every premature baby? I quess you could make a couple of bucks with that...
  25. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    http://www.gizmag.com/artificial-lung/19332/

    The problem with your argument is that you are assuming that a premature fetus is equivalent to starting from scratch. in premature birth the placenta is ejected. You cannot simply plug it back in. This is very different from a placenta that forms on a non-uterine surface which is why all talk of premies is tangential and irrelevant.
  26. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    I think you need to stay focused - this discussion is on an artificial uterus and whether or not the interplay between mom/fetus is too complex. I see nothing at all to suggest this. Fetal hormonal regulation is every bit as complex early on as it is in 3rd trimester and it is possible to bring test tube mice embryos quite a long ways. The major hurdles are not "crosstalk". They are sterility and oxygenation. I cant think of anything else that would cause a problem.

    "mothers lungs" does not constitute complex cross-talk. it only constitutes a means by which the serum is oxygenated. Something an artificial uterus would theoretically be equipped to do.

    think kangaroos - the early kangaroo infant is still fetal by nearly all definitions other than location. It only has milk but is otherwise no longer connected to the mothers system. Only thing it needs is warmth, nutrition, and oxygen. This is not all that difficult to re-create.

    or chickens... All I am addressing is this idea of "cross talk". Chickens get oxygen through pores in the shell, and nutrition through the yolk sac, and sterility via the shell again. This is all they need to come to term. No motherly cross-talk needed to produce a creature on the high end of the complexity scale.
    Last edited: 04.26.12
  27. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    I get our point, but it isn't just lungs that aren't developed in preterm baby. Liver for example is often the problem with premature babies. And if you think that we are going to make all this artificial survival systems in near future, why on earth you are studying medicine? Because if you can replace every organ with mechanical, theres nothing left to do for doctors. Not much at least.
  28. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    again, premature infant humans have no real relevance to this discussion.

    think about it - we cannot just stuff the infant back in a REAL uterus to save them, so why are you bringing them up in a discussion about a fake uterus? We are talking about growing a fetus to term from a zygote, not save a rejected fetus. The normal human uterus and mother currently cannot save premie babies so why do you think that premies somehow show that an artificial uterus would never work? they are two completely separate issues.

    you are just randomly connecting systems now.... nowhere has it even been implied that an artificial uterus can be extended to artificial everything... with the concept of an artificial uterus you still have a healthy fetus. Yes, fetal organs are underdeveloped, so oxygen needs to get in, and wastes need to get out because the lungs and kidneys of the fetus cannot do this. IRL these products are exchanged with the mother and then are removed via the mothers systems. Even though the mother's systems are used here, does not mean that it MUST be the mothers systems who do this.... the ONLY need of the fetus is that the wastes go away. Whether it is the mother's kidneys/liver that provide this or the waste-filled fluid is simply dumped and replaced... doesnt matter.
    Last edited: 04.26.12
  29. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    keep in mind your argument: the cross talk (i.e. signalling) between mother and fetus is too complex to be re-created.

    all of this talk of lungs is irrelevant. fetuses in REAL uteruses still do not have functional lungs. What they have is a connection via an umbilical cord to a membrane. On the other side of the membrane is oxygen and nutrient rich serum.

    My only point is that fetuses are self-regulating. I am not aware of any hormones from the mother that act on the fetus. The endometrium does not release anything other than some sex hormones, and if these were vital to fetal implantation and growth we wouldnt get near full-term babies growing in abdomens. The Fetus, on the other hand, sends out signals to the mother which tells it to maintain the uterine lining. These signals would be irrelevant in an artificial uterus because the membrane or other attachment mechanism would be static (the only goal of the fetus anyways... i.e. "don't enter menses").
  30. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    off course this has to do with preterm babies. Artificial uterus has to be able to maintain this bodily functions that haven't developed enough in baby. Thats why its problem that baby born prematurely, camoon.
  31. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    no. an artificial uterus ONLY has to perform the duties of a normal uterus. A normal uterus cannot support a preterm baby. Therefore an artificial uterus does not have to either. And furthermore, this sub-topic still does nothing to support your initial claim that the "cross talk" is too complex
  32. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    maybe the language barrier is the problem. Please explain to me why an artificial uterus would not work. Lets start there.
  33. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    Im not saying it would work, I'm just saying it would be hard to do.
    First its not very easy to make artificial lungs that can keep baby up 9 months although there are some progress going on with that. Secondly total parenteral nutrition would be hard, although not impossible. Waste disposal and hormonal effects would probably be hard too. And who knows what kind of connections there are. I once read if I remember correctly that insomnia in mother can cause malformations in baby. So there might be many difficult hormonal etc balances that ectogenesis requires. Im not saying it impossible, but is surely as hard as hell. If it would there would be probably more people trying to do it. I don't know more than few researchers who are investigating this.
  34. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    you will not actually need "lungs". you only need a way to keep the serum oxygenated. Oxygen is pretty good at that... I think you are getting bogged down on a few unneccessary details. But you did hit the high points... except hormonal. I disagree with that one. I have seen no evidence to suggest that we would need to re-create a hormonal environment that the fetus wouldnt create for itself.
  35. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    All you would need to do would be to connect the umbilical arteries/vein to a heart lung bypass machine.

    For various reasons, that would be difficult to do, particularly for extended periods of time, but that's as much of an "artificial lung" as you would need.
  36. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    and before this guy pops back in to bring up premies again..... I am fairly certain that birth itself (even premature birth) causes fetal hormonal shifts which constrict and kill off the placental vessels. This is why we cannot just hook a baby up to a bypass machine as you suggested.
  37. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    Yes, but we already know how to reverse that. If we didn't, things like transposition of the great vessels would be 100% fatal at birth.

    I'd wager that the same protocols for keeping a patent ductus arteriosus would work for umbilical vessels (if you don't clamp them off).
  38. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    well.... then why arent premies hooked up to bypass machines? in the nicu so much emphasis is put on lung development on whether or not a fetus will survive
  39. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    Sometimes they are. Google ECMO (extra corporeal membranous oxygenation).

    It's an expensive and dangerous treatment.
  40. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    nice lol. Either way, maintaining a fetus that has gone awry (preterm) should not be compared to developing a fetus from an embryo. they are very different. If we accept that comparison it is valid to say that NO uterus is necessary since 22+ weekers can live outside of the womb. (only cited to explain why the comparison is not valid)
  41. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    Never say never. You would need the appropriate mix of hormones etc to do it, but it's definitely going to happen. Maybe not with human embryos for ethical reasons, but definitely animals.
  42. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    I don't know where I said "never"... My whole point is that the hormonal input is from within the fetus. Mom is a vessel, nothing more.
  43. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    Haha, so what you're saying is we agreed this whole time?
  44. Dock1234

    Dock1234

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    So, do you think that in future we are going to see human organ farms, where anencephalic humans are produced in artificial wombs for their spare parts?
  45. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    That is a whole different issue. I'm not sure why you keep equating artificial wombs witg premies and now organ farming. The zygote has everything it needs to produce a viable and intact human on its own assuming it gets enough nutrients and oxygen and its waste is removed. I dont see a logical extension to individual organs.

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