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Ethical, Translational, and Legal Issues Surrounding the Novel Adoption of Ectogestative Technologies

Segers, Seppe; Romanis, Elizabeth Chloe

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Seppe Segers


Increasing numbers of research teams are investigating the feasibility of developing artificial amnion and placenta technology (AAPT), commonly referred to as “artificial womb technology”. This technology, aimed at supporting ex vivo gestation, has not yet been tested in humans, but it has been stated that we are closer to clinical application than ever before as breakthroughs in animal studies demonstrate good proof of principle. With these proof-of-concept models, further dissemination of AAPT as a research modality is expected. In this review article, we consider the ethical implications of the most imminent anticipated applications for AAPT. We focus specifically on the specific ethical complications regarding the improvements this technology may offer to conventional neonatal intensive care, its potential utility in facilitating prenatal interventions, and some of the broader socio-legal implications such as the debates about abortion access and reproductive and gestational choices. We discuss translational and societal questions when it comes to designing and developing this technology, like commitments to value-sensitive design, along with an examination of the legal and moral status of the entity gestating ex utero, which will be relevant for how it ought to be treated in the context of these various applications. From these perspectives, this review identifies the ethical questions that we believe to be most pressing in the development and potential introduction of AAPT, with due attention to their manifestation as translational and legal issues.


Segers, S., & Romanis, E. C. (2022). Ethical, Translational, and Legal Issues Surrounding the Novel Adoption of Ectogestative Technologies. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 15, 2207-2220.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 18, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 24, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2022
Journal Risk Management and Healthcare Policy
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Pages 2207-2220


Published Journal Article (660 Kb)

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© 2022 The Author(s). This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

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