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
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Contributors Academic supervisors contributed to reviews of previous drafts of this paper and are included in the acknowledgments.
Funding The author is a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London and the PhD is funded by a studentship from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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