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Artificial wombs? Tech entrepreneurs discuss population crisis, solutions

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, and Gumroad founder Sahil Lavingia engaged in a Twitter exchange about population collapse and options like ‘artificial wombs’ to combat the problem.   According to Musk, we should be ‘much more concerned about population collapse. Replying to that, Lavingia wrote: ‘We should be investing in technology that makes having kids much faster/easier/cheaper/more accessible Synthetic wombs, etc’.

The discussion focused on the possibility of world population collapse and the creation of synthetic wombs as a possible solution.  Musk, who has advocated the colonization of Mars, said that there wouldn’t be enough people on Earth to populate Mars either. In addition, Buterin offered his valuable perspective on synthetic wombs, saying that they could dramatically reduce inequality by removing the high burden of pregnancy. Moreover, SpaceX’s CEO shared media reports about falling birth rates in different parts of the world.

‘Artificial wombs’
The term ‘artificial uterus’ or ‘artificial womb’ refers to devices that allow extracorporeal pregnancy. During this process, the growth of the fetus is not inside the body of an organism that normally carries the fetus to term. According to a BBC report published on October 19, scientists in the Netherlands are close to developing an artificial womb that could save premature babies’ lives.

Experts have noted that premature birth, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is a major cause of death among newborns. Nevertheless, the concept of an artificial womb also raised ethical concerns. In 2017, a research team in Philadelphia developed a prototype ‘biobag’ that supported lamb fetuses with success, possibly the closest thing to an artificial womb. Researchers found that all of the babies emerged from the biobag healthy, avoiding common complications associated with preterm birth.


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