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Silicon Womb Detail  (Source: Anecova)

Silicon Womb vs. Traditional AVF  (Source: Anecova)
Silicon womb incubates embryos inside the mothers own body

For the many people around the world affected by infertility who hope to have their own biological children and raise a family, the only option is in vitro fertilization (IVF). With typical IVF, eggs are harvested form a woman in bulk and then fertilized in a lab dish. The dish requires maintenance every few hours to keep waste materials away and keep fresh nutrients the embryo needs to develop available.

After a two to five day incubation period, the healthiest embryos are transferred to the uterus in the hopes of a successful pregnancy. The process has a success rate according to some sources of only 30%. Trials of a new silicon womb are set to begin in the UK and researchers hope the device will reduce the amount of eggs required for IVF and increase the chances of a pregnancy.

The silicon womb allows embryos created in the lab to be placed inside a perforated silicon tube and implanted into the woman’s body. NewScientist reports that the silicon womb is about 5mm long and less than 1mm wide with walls that are perforated with 360 holes about 40 microns in diameter.

Once the lab loads the tube with embryos the tube is implanted via the cervix into the uterus of a woman. The tiny holes allow the normal uterine fluids to reach the embryos providing a more natural environment for them to grow.

Forty women are being recruited for a trial of the silicon womb and each woman will have eight to twelve eggs harvested -- half of the resulting embryos will be incubated in the lab and half inside the silicon womb. Researchers say that half of the participants will have the silicon womb’s removed after two days and the embryos will be checked for genetic defects and the remainder of the volunteers will have the silicon wombs left for four days.

Simon Fishel, the man leading the trial at CARE Fertility in the UK, said that the trials are encouraging, but not conclusive. Fishel told NewScientist, “We will be able to directly compare the results of the in vitro and in vivo techniques.”

Fishel goes on to say, “We don't really know the full ambient conditions of the reproductive tract. It is also a dynamic environment that changes constantly, and we can't replicate that."

Even if the silicon womb works, it is still not ideal according to researchers. In a normal pregnancy the embryo develops inside the fallopian tube during the typical seven days it takes to move from the ovary to the uterus.

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Silicon womb
By Mystery Meat on 2/28/2008 2:37:12 PM , Rating: 5
If it's half as good as the one in my inflatable doll, it will be a resounding success.

RE: Silicon womb
By amanojaku on 2/28/2008 2:39:02 PM , Rating: 4
Not if it's carrying YOUR genes! :-D

RE: Silicon womb
By Owls on 2/28/2008 3:05:43 PM , Rating: 1
With this new advancement test tube baby jokes on the playground will make a comeback.

RE: Silicon womb
By daftrok on 2/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: Silicon womb
By dever on 2/28/2008 3:34:11 PM , Rating: 5
Birth = not natural
Educated by the government?

RE: Silicon womb
By headbox on 2/28/2008 3:51:41 PM , Rating: 5
No, he's not educated at all.

Medical "advances" like these are counter-productive to the human species. There is no natural selection anymore. The people with the weakest genes and highest health risks will have just as many children as healthy people. If nature selected you to not have offspring, it's because your parents are genetically inferior and so are you. Deal with it and buy a puppy from your local shelter, or adopt a Chinese orphan.

RE: Silicon womb
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 2/28/2008 4:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, crackheads on welfare that have 10 kids that they can't afford to feed is better for the species than a couple that can afford $10,000 to do IVF and give a baby a good life.

Was your mom one of those crackheads?

RE: Silicon womb
By Laitainion on 2/28/2008 5:16:22 PM , Rating: 5
That's a *very* strict interpretation of Natural Selection, and Darwinian theory in general, you have there.

One that just happens to ignore a number of aspects to the theory. "Natural Selection" is a process, like the way iron oxidises (or rusts) when left exposed to water and air. In and of itself Natural Selection is unavoidable, nor is it necessarily good. A species can naturally select itself into an evolutionary dead and wind up extinct.

In addition such a strict interpretation doesn't take into account that the goal of evolution (if it can be said to have a goal) is not to make individual specimens of a given species that are 'better', but to create a species as a whole that is better able to survive in the ever-changing world.

It is in this context that the idea of social animals (such as us, ants, lions, wolves etc. etc.) make sense in evolutionary terms. A number of individuals working together for the greater good of the *whole* group are often more likely to survive that one by itself.

Humanity has simply taken this a step further. Not only do we work together as a group to survive in the harsh world, be as a group we work to change the world. This is what makes us the dominant species on this planet, not anything else. This silicon womb is simply further continuation of that trend.

Finally, suggesting that there is Natural Selection anymore is pure foolishness as the killing of weaker members of the species is only one mechanism by which it works. Other's include simply being able to find a mate to begin with. The way in which we as humans percieve the attractiveness of others is based at least partly by evaluating characteristics in line of the quality of the persons genes. If a person has regular features (i.e. the nose is not too big nor too small), that means they have commonly shared genes. Commonly shared genes are more likely to be good ones. The percieved health of the individual is also important, as a healthy individual is more likely to have strong genes again.

Getting rid of 'weak' genes isn't always a good idea either. One example of this is Sickle Celled Anemia (I think that's spelled right). This is caused by a gene which, when the individual only has one gives resistence to Malaria, but when there are two (one on each chromosome on the pair) dramatically decreases the amount of oxygen the blood can carry.

RE: Silicon womb
By jtemplin on 2/29/2008 2:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
Regarding your last comment the term for what you describe is pleiotropy and it has been suggested as an explanation for the stable existence of mental illness in the population, even ones that lead to suicide. One would think an illness leading to suicide would be an evolutionary dead-end...perhaps the gene is linked to another necessary function. Don't know any research off hand but I come across it frequently.

RE: Silicon womb
By TomZ on 2/28/2008 6:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
Medical "advances" like these are counter-productive to the human species. There is no natural selection anymore.

Your view is based on an incorrect assumption that infertility is caused by a genetic defect. In reality, genetic defects are not commonly thought to be the root cause of infertility. Instead, the rising infertility in developed nations is generally attributed to environmental factors, e.g., chemical exposure, and social changes, e.g., the trend towards having children at an older age and the like.

And I also think your comment is extremely insensitive, to say the least. Infertility is a difficult and potentially devistating problem for a couple to go through. My wife and I have three children as a result of IVF, and I am personally very grateful for these "medical advances" that have quite significantly changed my life. If I were a prospective parent just 20-30 years ago, my wife and I would not have been able to have children, which would have been devistating.

Obviously you are a child yourself, judging by your comments, but I still hold out some hope that you can understand this very adult explanation.

RE: Silicon womb
By P4blo on 2/29/2008 6:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm so in support of this opinion. There are countless examples where our medical practices are going to lead to problems within the human genome and nobody seems to care. We'll kill ourselves with compassion.

It really is the question for our century. Continue down the road of medical dependence? Or allow nature to take its course? Seems to me we're determined to turn our backs on nature.

I also dislike the idea of cosmetic surgery gaining any more ground for the sake of mostly women's vanity. I have no interest in a world where you wonder what your partner really looks like! How long before someone deemed unattractive can simply transform themselves? It's high time cosmetic surgery was put in a choke hold for all but the most needy (accident survivors etc).

If we play with our bodies in such a carefree manner, there will be consequences one day. Sadly human compassion is an unstoppable freight train. Creating babies for infertile couples, cutting babies out when mothers cant give birth. Keeping babies on advanced life support when they fall way short of term. All these things and more ensure that potentially unsuitable genes get a 'free pass'.

RE: Silicon womb
By TomZ on 2/29/2008 9:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
Why do you assume that medical progress is directly at odds with natural selection, and that somehow all medical conditions are due to genetic defects. That's very naive.

You're also ignoring the fact that medical advances have very much extended human lifespans as well as quality of life. How can this be bad for the human race?

Finally, what evidence do you have that there is some kind of overall problem with human genetics today?

Where do you guys get ideas like yours? If you think about it, it makes no sense at all.

RE: Silicon womb
By P4blo on 3/12/2008 7:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
I dont recall saying that 'all' medical conditions are due to genetic defects. Why are you putting words like that in my mouth?

It's really simple, remove all medical science and a LOT of people will die that wouldnt have otherwise.

That's bound to change the way we evolve. Simply because it's contrary to the evolutionary process that has got us to where we are now. A process that seems to have worked well.

I'm not pretending this is black and white, just wishing to generate some debate on the unquestioning nature of human compassion in respect to our 'they have a right to live & procreate at all costs no matter how unviable they are' attitudes. It seems to me the more and more advanced medical science gets the more extreme the medical condition we can handle and the more extreme our dependence. Is that really being fair to future generations if they're born with the same defects because their genetic line was artificially kept alive with medecine?

RE: Silicon womb
By daftrok on 2/28/2008 10:27:10 PM , Rating: 2
Birth is natural, unendurable suffering to do so just seems a bit cruel and unnecessary is all.

RE: Silicon womb
By dever on 3/3/2008 3:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
unendurable suffering to do so just seems a bit cruel and unnecessary is all
"Unendurable" is a wee bit dramatic, considering that all animals have been "enduring" this just to exist.

My wife labored for 36 hours with our first child. If you ask her, she would not trade that experience for anything.

Also, there seems to be more and more studies that indicate that the birth process is good for both mother and child.

Do you have any children?

RE: Silicon womb
By eyebeeemmpawn on 2/28/2008 3:38:56 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think stretching a vagina 10 centimeters in diameter is natural either.

depends on the size of the tools you're working with ;)

sorry, couldn't help it.

RE: Silicon womb
By VashHT on 2/28/2008 3:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it is natural, unless you believe there's some magical force that allows it to stretch when women give birth.

RE: Silicon womb
By christojojo on 2/28/2008 5:09:09 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the way babies really enter the the atomic family, Wally!

Gee Willikers

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