Post-production maintenance
Posted by aogMonday, 10 November 2008 at 10:43 TrackBack Ping URL

I was reading a science fiction story this morning which involved “uterine replicators” which are basically artificial wombs. Naturally most women think the technology is wonderful as they can have children without the physiological costs and medical risks of pregnancy. But it left me wondering — how are the babies fed afterwards? Lactation is triggered by pregnancy hormones which will not be present if all fetal development takes places externally. Should I just presume the existence of infant formula of sufficient quality, since if the technology can replicate a womb it can handle artificial lactation as well? Or presume hormone therapy to induce lactation? For all the time spent on discussing the moral and cultural implications of artificials wombs, that subject is not touched upon at all.

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Hey Skipper Monday, 10 November 2008 at 12:55

But it left me wondering — how are the babies fed afterwards?

Ummmm … the same way many babies are now?

Many babies are never breast fed; I think the formula of sufficient quality box has already been checked.

GNasty Wednesday, 12 November 2008 at 02:32

I don’t know if any author has dealt with it, but what about the post-partum bonding, etc? A great deal a formative work is done in the infants mind during the first several months of life. Assembly line production may produce viable babies, but what mechanism is in place to ensure they get the physical touch and stimulation they need?

Mayb it’s not an issue.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 12 November 2008 at 07:18

Physical affection is much easier. Certainly a mother can choose to be affectionate to her child and bond. That doesn’t seem even very difficult, based on my observations of women of child bearing age and their reactions to random babies. But lactation? A woman can’t choose to lactate. So that seems a bigger hurdle to me.

cjm Sunday, 16 November 2008 at 10:52

return of the wet nurse.

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