Since the publication of the successful animal trials of the Biobag, a prototypical extrauterine support for extremely premature neonates, numerous ethicists have debated the potential implications of such a device. Some have argued that the Biobag represents a natural evolution of traditional newborn intensive care, while others believe that the Biobag would create a new class of being for the patients housed within. Kingma and Finn argued in Bioethics for making a categorical distinction between fetuses, newborns and ‘gestatelings’ in a Biobag on the basis of a conceptual distinction between ectogenesis versus ectogestation. Applying their arguments to the clinical realities of newborn intensive care, however, demonstrates the inapplicability of their ideas to the practice of medicine. Here, I present three clinical examples of the difficulty and confusion their argument would create for clinicians and offer a possible remedy: namely, discarding the term ‘artificial womb’ in favour of ‘Biobag’.
- ethics- medical
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information. Not applicable.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Contributors PSW conceptualised the project and developed the argument. PSW wrote the first draft of the manuscript and acts as guarantor of the content.
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 Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.