EctoLife introduced its baby farm concept. In artificial wombs, babies “mature” in an ideal but inhuman environment…
To be clear from the outset: this is just a concept at this stage – the brainchild of Berlin-based Yemeni “producer, director and science communicator” Hashem Al-Ghaili. He is a molecular biotechnologist by training and known for his videos on scientific breakthroughs. There are no concrete plans to build EctoLife artificial wombs anytime soon. It’s just that Al-Ghaili’s imagination has run wild, but his dystopia looks scary. His project is more of a work of art so far, but the producer believes that the new model of parenting is already quite near.
According to him, artificial wombs will exist in decades. Al-Ghaili’s argument for human farms is that pregnancy is not fun. It can be exhausting, painful, disgusting, intrusive, uncomfortable and sometimes downright dangerous for the mother and often for the baby. “If you’re pregnant and you’re smoking, or partying, or stressing out too much, or catching certain diseases, or just not playing enough Mozart to your growing belly, you may not be giving your child the best start,” Al-Ghaili muses.
Science is not far away, Al-Ghaili says, from being able to reproduce the ideal conditions of pregnancy in a transparent, temperature-controlled, infection-free womb. The artificial umbilical cord can provide oxygen and nutrition while the baby swims in artificial amniotic fluid, continuously replenished with precisely tailored hormones, antibodies and growth factors. The baby poo can be extracted from the capsule, passed through a bioreactor and enzymatically converted back into a “stable and sustainable supply of fresh nutrients”.
Tiny sound speakers in the artificial womb will infuse babies’ brains with the gentlest music created by mankind, as well as playing the voices of their parents to the embryo to begin building that precious bond.
Vital signs will be constantly monitored. Physical defects and genetic abnormalities will be caught early. Real-time data about your little Tamagotchi will pop up on your smartphone via a special app. HD in-womb cameras will give you full access to every move of your beloved unborn being.
Human babies are among the most helpless and underdeveloped in the animal kingdom. Why can’t we jump out of the womb and take our faltering first steps five minutes later like a calf does? This is because our brains are too big for the human female hip gap. We are born immature, with soft, flexible skulls, several months behind the development of other animals. But in EctoLife EZ-Womb there is no such biological limitation. You can experiment with much longer gestation periods, the results can be great – this is what Al-Ghaili’s promotional video tells about.
Sound too impersonal, cold and inhuman? Think you might miss the feeling of baby kicking? A haptic suit can give that feeling to any parent who wants it, and only when they want it. Want to see the beginning of life from your child’s point of view?
According to the fantasist-producer, the chain will have 75 laboratories, in each of them there will be 400 artificial wombs, and in total the business will make 30,000 babies a year. For a certain higher fee, the user can grow the embryo at home. The capsule has a special power battery.
You may not have the same intense human experience as current parents, but you will feel physically fresh and well-rested on the first day of it. Al-Ghaili believes that the happiest will be those who cannot conceive or bear children naturally. He’s adamant that once the concept is well developed and affordable, it will be a pretty attractive option for people who like the idea of a baby but can’t understand why they have to go through the ordeal of pregnancy and birth to have an heir. EctoLife will even give you a free genetic test to make sure your compatibility is favorable to have a child together.