Tag Archives: fertility

First full ovary transplant patient completes successful pregnancy

The headline says it all – after ten years of research and testing, we have the first child born successfully after its mother received a full ovary transplant. The doctor who carried out the procedure is now suggesting that young girls have one of their ovaries removed and frozen in case they need it later in life. [both links via FuturePundit]

It amazing how quickly we’re adopting the idea of ‘banking’ parts of ourselves in case of future need; it implies an understanding of the body as a biological machine, which may be why some religions find it so morally repugnant.

But religion aside, the story above brings up another contentious question – if fertility is no longer a barrier to carrying a child to term, how old is too old for a woman to become a mother? Is it merely an issue of physical suitability, or are there psychological and social implications for a child raised by parents that we would currently consider to be of grandparenting age?

"Silicon womb" trials to begin in UK

henna-pregnancy No, it’s not a reproductive upgrade for your uber-1337 gaming PC. Instead, it’s a way of increasing the odds of success for in-vitro fertilization:

“The new device allows embryos created in the lab to be incubated inside a perforated silicon container inserted into a woman’s own womb. After a few days, the capsule is recovered and some embryos are selected for implantation in the womb.

Embryos incubated in the lab must have their growth medium changed every few hours to provide new nutrients and get rid of waste. The new device provides a more natural environment.”

So, while technology is an adjunct to biology in matters reproductive, the body still knows best. I wonder if we’ll ever be able to simulate biological processes that are effectively identical to the real thing ? Perhaps some new form of Sir Arthur C Clarke’s aphorism comes into effect – “any sufficiently advanced biotechnology is indistinguishable from life” … [image by aturkus]