Billionaire Elon Musk has frequently spoken about his concerns about underpopulation. He has mentioned that people should focus on having more babies to resolve the problem of low birth rates and population collapse.
Earlier this year, Musk shared how the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lower birth rate instead of the “baby boom” expected due to people being forced to stay indoors.
Now, a birthing facility could answer Musk’s concerns about the world’s low birth rates. The world’s first artificial womb facility, EctoLife, promises to produce customized babies.
Film producer and biotechnologist Hashem Al-Ghaili have created the technology which would allow women who have had their uterus removed to procreate, while also reducing premature births, and combating population declines, reports the Daily Mail.
Running on renewable energy, the facility plans to house 75 labs, each equipped with up to 400 growth pods or artificial wombs, reports the media outlet.
The pods are designed to replicate the real-life conditions of the mother’s womb and include sensors that monitor the baby’s vitals, like a heartbeat, temperature, and oxygen saturation.
EctoLife aims to grow up to 30,000 babies a year inside its birthing pods.
Al-Ghaili says the concept is based on “50 years of groundbreaking scientific research conducted by researchers worldwide,” and such birthing pods could be widespread in “just decades” from now, the Daily Mail reports.
Al-Ghaili believes that artificial womb facilities could become a reality in 10 years if ethical restrictions are removed, reports the Mirror.
According to the report, an “Elite Package” would allow people to “genetically engineer the embryo before implanting it into the artificial womb.”
Also, parents can select their baby’s level of intelligence, height, hair, eye color, physical strength, and skin tone.
Al-Ghaili says, “Every single feature mentioned in the concept is 100 percent science-based and has already been achieved by scientists and engineers”.
“The only thing left is building a prototype by combining all the features into a single device”, he was quoted as saying by the Mirror.
Al-Ghaili claims the artificial womb facility can “help” countries facing the problem of a declining population, such as Japan, Bulgaria, and South Korea, among others.
“In terms of timeframe, it depends on the ethical guidelines. Right now, research on human embryos is not allowed beyond 14 days. After 14 days, embryos must be destroyed due to ethical concerns”, he adds.
Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Hawk on Flickr
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