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Assisted Gestative Technologies

Romanis, Elizabeth Chloe

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A large body of literature considers the ethico-legal and regulatory issues surrounding assisted conception. Surrogacy, however, within this body of literature is an odd-fit. It involves a unique demand of another person – a form of reproductive labour – that many other aspects of assisted conception, such as gamete donation do not involve. Surrogacy is a form of assisted gestation. The potential alternatives for individuals who want a genetically related child but who do not have the capacity to gestate are ever increasing: with the advent of uterus transplantation (UTx), and the anticipated development of artificial placentas. In this paper, I highlight the pertinent conceptual differences between technologies assisting conception and those assisting gestation to demonstrate that distinct issues arise when assisted gestative technologies (AGTs) are used. I argue that there is utility in of considering AGTs as a genus of technologies. These technologies perform the same function from the perspective of putative parents and might exist on a spectrum of alternatives when they become more available. Moreover, since many of the same or very similar ethical, social and legal issues are raised by surrogacy, UTx and ectogestation, analysis of these issues will be better contextualised by considering these technologies together. Many of the matters currently being highlighted for reform in the context of surrogacy will inevitably impact on how other forms of assisted gestation are governed. The conversation should be broadened; we should consider how far other emerging technologies might be accommodated in revised regulatory schemes.


Romanis, E. C. (2022). Assisted Gestative Technologies. Journal of Medical Ethics, 48(7), 439-446.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 17, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 11, 2022
Publication Date 2022-07
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 4, 2022
Journal Journal of Medical Ethics
Print ISSN 0306-6800
Electronic ISSN 1473-4257
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 7
Pages 439-446


Accepted Journal Article (244 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Journal of Medical Ethics, 2022 following<br /> peer review, and the Version of Record can be accessed online at

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