Procreation machines: Ectogenesis as reproductive enhancement, proper medicine or a step towards posthumanism?

Eichinger, Johanna and Eichinger, Tobias. (2020) Procreation machines: Ectogenesis as reproductive enhancement, proper medicine or a step towards posthumanism? Bioethics, 34 (4). pp. 385-391.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/87770/

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Full ectogenesis as the complete externalization of human reproduction by bypassing the bodily processes of gestation and childbirth can be considered the culmination of genetic and reproductive technologies. Despite its still being a hypothetical scenario, it has been discussed for decades as the ultimate means to liberate women from their reproductive tasks in society and hence finally end fundamental gender injustices generally. In the debate about the application of artificial wombs to achieve gender equality, one aspect is barely mentioned but is of crucial relevance from a medical-ethical perspective: whether and how could full ectogenesis be justified as a proper use of medicine? After characterizing the technology as a special form of human enhancement and as an extension of medical practice that goes beyond the traditional field of medicine, this paper critically assesses the theoretical possibilities of legitimizing this extension. We identify two ways of justification: either one argues that ectogenesis fulfils a proper goal of medicine (a justification we call pathologization), or one argues that the application of ectogenesis achieves a non-medical goal (which we call medicalization). Because it is important from a medical-ethical point of view to avoid an inappropriate instrumentalization or misuse of medicine and thus an undue medicalization of non-medical problems, a set of necessary conditions has to be met. It is doubtful whether full ectogenesis for non-medical purposes could fulfil these conditions. Rather, its comprehensive usage could be seen as a revolutionary modification of what it means to be human.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine
UniBasel Contributors:Eichinger, Johanna
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:05 Feb 2022 13:23
Deposited On:05 Feb 2022 13:23

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