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Commentary on Romanis’ Assisted Gestative Technologies
  1. Evie Kendal
  1. School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Evie Kendal, School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia; ekendal{at}

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In ‘Assisted Gestative Technologies,’ Romanis argues for the conceptual creation of a new genus of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), in recognition of the unique ethical, legal and social implications assistive gestative technologies (AGTs) raise.1 She argues this taxonomic classification might allow for ethicolegal determinations regarding one AGT to be generalised to other instances of this technology. Romanis correctly identifies a lack of appropriate regulations for dealing with the rapidly developing field of assisted and artificial gestation, noting the current discussion of surrogacy law reform in the UK offers an opportunity to redress this.

However, when reading this article what strikes me most is not how AGTs, ARTs or assisted conception are defined, but rather what constitutes a technology. Surrogacy is introduced as assisted gestation, but uterine transplantation (UTx) as being on the spectrum of AGTs. While both might use assisted conception, for example, in vitro fertilisation, it is unclear what part of uterus donation or transplantation is to be considered technological? This is not to say such processes do not involve technologies—of course they do—but we do not typically describe surgery itself as an instance of technology. This distinction is relevant if the purpose of establishing this genus of AGTs is to group morally relevant characteristics of technologies together or create paradigm cases for casuistical reasoning.

Considering the above …

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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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