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Impact of ectogenesis on the medicalisation of pregnancy and childbirth


The medicalisation of pregnancy and childbirth has been encouraged by the continuing growth of technology that can be applied to the reproductive journey. Technology now has the potential to fully separate reproduction from the human body with the prospect of ectogenesis—the gestation of a fetus outside of the human body. This paper considers the issues that have been caused by the general medicalisation of pregnancy and childbirth and the impact that ectogenesis may have on these existing issues. The medicalisation of pregnancy and childbirth is criticised for its impact on the relationship between doctors and pregnant women and the way in which doctors treat fetuses. It is argued that ectogenesis may cause more imbalance in the doctor and intended parent relationship and may result in an increased lack of clarity regarding a doctor’s duty to the fetus. This paper finds that extensive guidance and revised legislation will be necessary to minimise the impact of ectogenesis on the existing issues caused by the medicalisation of reproduction.

  • reproductive medicine
  • fetal viability
  • embryos and fetuses
  • interests of woman/fetus/father
  • law

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