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How useful is the category of ‘assisted gestative technologies’?
  1. Julian Koplin
  1. Monash Bioethics Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Julian Koplin, Monash Bioethics Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia; julian.koplin{at}

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Elizabeth Chloe Romanis argues that surrogacy, uterine transplantation (UTx) and ectogestation belong to a genus of ‘assisted gestative technologies” (“AGTs”).1 These technologies are conceptually distinct from assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) in that they support gestation rather than conception. Romanis argues that they also raise some overlapping ethical and policy issues that are best appreciated by ‘considering these technologies together’, thus placing the issues that AGT’s share at the forefront of ethical analysis.

The neologism ‘AGTs’ picks out a distinctive and important category of technologies, and there is value in considering the ethical parallels between various AGT’s. However, the category of AGTs should provide neither the only nor the main level of ethical analysis. Surrogacy, UTx and ectogestation share important parallels not only with each other but also with other practices; indeed, some of these parallels are stronger than those AGT’s share with each other.

Consider ectogestation. One striking implication of ‘artificial placentas’ is that they may make it possible to terminate a pregnancy without causing the death of the fetus. This is noteworthy in part because it threatens to disrupt one influential defence of abortion rights: that they are protected by something like a moral right to bodily integrity. Once fetuses can be transferred to artificial wombs, bodily integrity would no longer support a …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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