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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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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?


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