The term ectogenesis was coined in the 1920s by geneticist and biologist researcher J.B.S. Haldaine to refer to the development of a new being outside the maternal body. Haldaine considered ectogenesis “an important opportunity for social engineering” inscribed in a eugenic society where a complete separation of procreation from sex would lead to a “liberation of humanity in an entirely new sense.”
Haldain was interested in understanding the origin of life in order to direct and control the development of life itself. His goal was to synthesize living creatures in biochemistry laboratories, an aspiration that, in later years, would take shape in synthetic biology and genetic engineering laboratories.
Haldaine believed that ectogenesis would allow for eugenic selection in which only the best gametes would be used for the next generation. Selection that today has become the practice in the field of MAP techniques. Haldaine and Julian Huxley strongly promoted a “positive eugenics” that in those years resulted – well before Nazi Germany – in sterilization programs regulated by legislation in favor of them in the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and widely funded by philanthropic associations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, issues that we have explored in our previous texts.
Huxley believed that ectogenesis could accelerate, facilitate, and make more flexible eugenic selection. Eugenic thinking is the foundation of ectogenesis and more generally of genetic research and any artificial reproduction of the human and is one of the cornerstones of the transhumanist vision.
The obsession with the creation of life shines through from the very beginning of this research, in the words of the research biologist Jacques Loeb: “I wanted to take life in my hands and play with it. I wanted to manipulate it in my laboratory like any other chemical reaction, to initiate it, to stop it, to study it under any conditions, to direct it at my will”. All this is not just an expression of crazy aspirations of some isolated researcher, but are the transhumanist principles of control and domination over the living.
With the artificial womb, the laboratory of life, which has become a system, wants to disregard the reality of the woman’s body, the reality of procreation, and therefore disregard reality in order to dominate and modify it.
It is in this original meaning and in this horizon that we must insert the research related to the realization of the artificial womb and the latest important developments in this regard. MAP, embryo selection, experiments on embryos, genetic modification, artificial womb are all deeply interconnected aspects of the same transhumanist world. Saving even one of these aspects implies that this transhumanist world proceeds in its direction that, sooner or later, will extend to every dimension of our life and of the whole living being.
We have been writing for some time about the re-signification of birth, mother, and woman, the material consequences on bodies, and the profound ontological and anthropological transformation of the human being that this re-signification entails. Techno-scientific developments are speeding up and every ethical barrier is falling, we are going towards a new neutral and infinitely modifiable humanity, in a post-human and post-nature world. A world without mothers, in order to achieve a definitive and total expropriation of women’s bodies and the dimension of procreation, a definitive and total control over the processes that create life, an engineering of the living and the control of the evolution of the human species itself.
Artificial womb: a bit of history and the latest developments
The first research conducted in order to realize the artificial womb dates back to 1958, when a group of researchers from Karolinka Institutet in Sweden developed a platform with the aim of allowing the development of premature human fetuses.
In Italy in the eighties to remember are the researches of Carlo Flamigni, one of the greatest exponents of in vitro fertilization in Italy, who was director of the Institute of clinical obstetrics and gynecology in Bologna, president of S.I.F.E.S. (Italian Society of Fertility and Sterility and Reproductive Medicine) and member of the National Committee for Bioethics. In 1987 Flamigni was the first in Italy to conduct an experiment in which he tried to grow a human embryo implanted in a removed womb, outside the human body.
In Tokyo in 1997 researchers develop a technique called EUFI: extrauterine fetal incubation. They extract their fetuses from the bellies of goats, thread catheters through the large vessels of the umbilical cord and provide the fetuses with oxygenated blood by suspending them in incubators that contain artificial amniotic fluid heated to body temperature.
In the following years there will be many laboratories in the world engaged in research on the artificial womb. By way of example I will report some of the most significant of these researches.
In 2002, the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Cornell University in New York created the first artificial human womb, managing to develop an embryo inside it for seven days. At the same time, in Tokyo, Juntendo University is creating a completely artificial womb without the use of biological tissues: an embryo-incubator in which a premature lamb is kept alive for three weeks.
In 2003, the perinatal laboratory at the Women and Infants Research Foundation in Australia developed a model of artificial womb, Ex-Vivo Uterine Environment (Eve), intended for lambs aged 106 days, thus managing to keep alive lambs more premature than other research. These animals were chosen to replicate as closely as possible the conditions of lung development of a premature human infant at the limit of survival, i.e. at 21/22-23 weeks of gestation. 24 weeks of gestation is the current “limit of viability”. : a baby that ceases to live at 24 weeks is classified as stillborn, at 23 weeks and 6 days it is a miscarriage.
In 2003 at the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at Cornell University they succeeded in growing a mouse embryo from the moment of conception until almost the end of gestation using bioengineered uterine tissue implanted on an extrauterine structure.
In 2017 at the Center for Fetal Research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, lambs are kept for 28 days in a biobag: a plastic bag that mimics the mother’s womb complete with amniotic fluid and placenta substitutes. A video shot with a cell phone shows a bag with a lamb submerged in a yellowish liquid, its chest rising and falling, from the abdomen a mass of tubes coming out of a slit in the bag, like veins full of blood. A scene that can’t help but disturb the eye. But in the video in which they announce the completion of the research all this is removed from the gaze and awareness, a promotional video with a sterile laboratory, smiling young researchers and heartbreaking scenes of babies born prematurely in intensive care units, with reassuring background music. There is no trace of the lambs, of the females that are artificially inseminated and subjected to caesarean sections, of the lambs taken prematurely from the womb and placed in a transparent bag, there is no trace of their killing in order to study their organs, there is no trace of the feces, the blood, the torn limbs, the pain, the broken breaths. The only calf that appears is the one that was not killed in order to study its development. It appears in a photograph, as if it were posed staring into the lens.
Researchers at this research center say, “The majority of fetuses in pregnancies predicted to be at risk due to extreme prematurity will essentially be in our system, and we will no longer be forced to deliver them prematurely and then hook them up to a ventilator.” This means that women at risk of giving birth early would have to undergo a preemptive C-section to transfer their babies into an artificial womb. The logic of prevention in this cybernetic techno-medical society responds to techno-scientific paradigms and algorithmic calculations in which Big Tech takes over the management of health in all its dimensions, from when one comes into the world – also telling us how one must come into the world – to when one dies or when one must die, as when one is now considered a burden on health care costs in a logic of resource optimization and in a eugenic logic that defines which life is more valuable to live or as when the medical system needs organs and thus preys on bodies that are still alive, but defined as dead1.
Health management that changes the relationship with our bodies and turns us into patients. Even prevention is disguised as freedom of choice: the you can becomes a you must in every dimension of our lives. “There can be no form of power that is indifferent to the control (in one degree or another) of bodies. Consequently, “by definition,” there can be no form of power that is unrelated to the health/disease dichotomy-so important to bodies. “2
In 2019, the artificial womb project was subsidized with €2.9 million to build a prototype for use in clinics. The funding comes from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program and this sum is distributed among the project participants: Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands), Aachen University Hospital (Germany), Lifetec Group BV (The Netherlands), Nemo Healthcare BV (The Netherlands) and the Polytechnic of Milan. The 5-year funded project started on October 1, 2019 and will end on September 30, 2024, but it is expected that a new application will be submitted after the funding period expires. With this funding, Eindhoven University is developing an artificial womb that surrounds the baby with fluids and delivers oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord.
These latest developments are a significant step forward in the attempt to create an artificial womb, as are experiments conducted by Israeli researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in which embryos were grown outside the womb longer than ever before: mouse embryos developed in the artificial womb for 11 or 12 days, about half the animal’s natural gestation period.
A mouse embryo, complete with pulsating heart cells, a head and the beginnings of limbs, alive and growing in a glass jar, this is the image provided by Technology Review, the popular science journal of MIT in Boston. The human equivalent of a 12-day-old mouse would be a three-month-old human fetus.
In a publication in the journal Nature, the Israeli research team describes a series of experiments in which they added toxins, dyes, viruses and human cells into developing mouse embryos, all to study what would happen. Researchers are working on adapting the procedure so that mice can be developed entirely in vitro to also develop human embryos in this way.
From the words of Dr. Jacob Hanna, who heads the research group that is pushing for research labs to experiment on human embryos by growing them in an artificial womb for 40 days before disposing of them, “I hope this will allow scientists to grow human embryos up to week five. […]. I would be in favor of growing it until day 40 and then disposing of it.” He states that to make such experiments more acceptable, human embryos could be modified to limit their full developmental potential going so far as to say that one possibility would be to cause genetic mutations that would prevent the heart from beating. But when we are in the presence of a heart, we are no longer dealing with an embryo, but with a 4-week-old fetus. Researchers continue to talk about embryos, but with their intentions and often with their research they are always one step ahead, in fact they want to develop fetuses of 4 and 5 weeks to submit them to their experiments.
William Hurlbut, a physician and bioethicist at Stanford University, is enthusiastic about the “unexpected practical applications” of growing human embryos, as “we could obtain primitive organs, such as liver or pancreas cells, from human embryos up to three months old, which could be further cultured and used in transplantation medicine” and his words are significant: “The scientific frontier is shifting from molecules and test tubes to living organisms”.
The question is not to establish at what point in the development of the embryo or fetus it is permissible to do research, but to reject the idea that it is permissible to use living matter, whether it be human or animal, whether it be cells fertilized in the early stages of embryonic development, whether it be human or animal fetuses, whether it be other animals or even just our gametes. Our bodies and the bodies of other animals are not places from which to extract material for research. The living, in every phase of its development, is not an object for experimentation. We reaffirm the unavailability of the living to the techno-scientific invasion.
Creating social acceptance
It will take a few more years before we reach full ectogenesis, but the artificial womb is already a reality and it is only a matter of time: the first step will be partial ectogenesis for premature babies, while, on the one hand, we will be able to keep more and more premature babies alive, on the other hand, we will be able to extend the life of embryos outside the womb more and more, until these two sides meet.
Arthur L. Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said in the mid-1990s: “In thirty years we will have solved the problem of lung development; neonatology will be able to save fetuses of 15 and 16 weeks. Many genetic tests will be available, easy to do, predicting the risks of late-onset diseases, but also predicting attitudes, behavioral traits and aspects of personality. An artificial womb will not be available, but there will be many prototypes, and women who cannot carry a pregnancy will sign up to use the prototypes in experimental protocols […] there will be a movement afoot to say that this is unnecessary and unnatural. […] Sixty years later the total artificial womb will be here. It’s technologically inevitable.”
It is important to note that the rhetoric to get research on the artificial womb approved and to start creating a social consensus around it is based on medical reasons, these are always the start and justification for techno-scientific developments especially in the Life Sciences. The artificial womb may serve for women who cannot get pregnant, without a developed uterus, with endometriosis or diagnosed with cancer. Note that these are exactly the same reasons for advocating today for opening up MAP for some specific cases.
The substantial difference is that today the artificial womb still provokes a reaction of outrage and rejection even from those who support with the same motivations the access to IVF techniques. The latter do not induce the same reaction because they have already become normal, just as the artificial womb will become normal.
The possibility of saving a premature baby entails the risk of beginning to imagine that other babies can be removed from the womb of the mother if she is deemed unfit to carry the pregnancy to term. If some mothers are not considered reliable to care for their child, why trust them to carry the pregnancy forward when a responsible incubator could do it instead?
If it were normal to choose between ectogenesis and natural pregnancy, our conception of natural would also be transformed. Using one’s own body would be seen as a sign of social inferiority and poverty. A natural mother would be considered potentially irresponsible as today it is considered irresponsible a mother who chooses to give birth at home, refusing hospitalization and medicalization of birth, as well as already today by transhumanist researchers is considered irresponsible not to access IVF clinics if a woman aged 37 years and over wants a child. The same natural childbirth would become first irresponsible and then criminal. Today it is already normal to hand over procreation to technicians and transhumanist researchers and bioethicists have already re-signified artificial reproduction techniques as parental responsibility.
The propaganda has already begun: in 2019, the Goethe Institute thus states in the short article Artificial Womb: A Positive Perspective, published online in the column Bluntly… post-human: “Artificial wombs are becoming a reality, but we should not be afraid of them. The image of the artificial womb is modeled after dystopian science fiction scenarios. Think of the breeding grounds in Brave New World or the human battery farm in The Matrix. We associate technology with totalitarianism and all things inhuman and unnatural. But in our time, artificial wombs could save babies’ lives.”
When they move on from other animals to testing the artificial womb on humans they will take a 21-week-old fetus with virtually no chance of surviving in an incubator. And who wouldn’t want to save that fetus if there was the technological capability to do so?
A living being emerges from the body of the mother: this is birth. With birth a living being emerges from the body of the mother spontaneously, when the baby is delivered or through cesarean section when it is extracted from the womb. With the artificial womb, to be born will no longer be pushed into the world or drawn into the world, but to be extracted and separated from a technological support. Therefore, it will be possible to be separated from the body of the mother, but not to be born.
The artificial womb thus continues the process of resignification of birth that originated with the development of artificial reproduction techniques. Tracing the origin of the process of fragmentation and artificialization of procreation is useful in understanding how the artificial womb is being arrived at. It must be understood that from the first step of intrauterine insemination, the inevitable point of arrival is the total artificialization of procreation and the elimination of the mother in this process.
The control and management of the procreative process at every stage of development were the goals from the beginning of the techniques of artificial reproduction, a control and management that, within the laboratory environment, can not help but become a willingness to intervene in this process and a manipulation of the same for what will be considered a continuous optimization.
Eugenics was present since the beginning of the development of artificial reproduction techniques with a selection based on certain characteristics and according to certain criteria to define the best gametes and the best embryo. I remember that there can be no MAP without gamete selection and embryo selection with pre-implantation diagnosis. When techno-scientists enter the procreative process they want to determine the characteristics of each of its elements, choosing them, modifying them and wanting to determine the outcome of the procreative process itself. The laboratory environment transforms the process of birth into a technical operation: the embryo becomes a product to be selected, improved, discarded and modified. The laboratory environment and artificial reproduction transform how we come into the world.
In the field of Life Sciences and in the field of genomics every desire to know is never neutral, the aim is always an intervention on living processes, their modification, redesign and artificialization. For the decoding of DNA the aim was then to synthesize it in synthetic biology laboratories. For the development of genetic engineering technology CRISP/Cas 9 the aim was to be able to intervene on the human germ line.
Biologist Richard Dawkins in 2006 stated, “In the 1920s and 1930s, scientists on both the left and the right would not have found the idea of designer babies particularly dangerous, though of course they would not have used that phrase. Today I suspect the idea is too dangerous for comfortable discussion, and my conjecture is that Adolf Hitler is responsible for the change… I wonder if, some 60 years after Hitler’s death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between playing for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to reproduce them. I can think of a few answers, and they are good ones, that would probably end up persuading me. But isn’t it time we stopped being afraid to even ask the question?”
‘Synthetic’ embryos, chimeras, genetic modification: every boundary broken
After synthetic mouse embryos developed in 2017 in Britain and the following year in the Netherlands, currently two research centers, one at Monash University in Melbourne and the other at the Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas, have developed human embryos in the laboratory not from eggs and sperm, but from reprogrammed stem cells. Such human embryos, according to the researchers, could become living laboratories to study problems of fertility and early human development, congenital diseases, the consequences of toxic substances and viruses on embryos, and genetic alterations responsible for recurrent failures of MAP techniques.
The chimera with the most human cells ever developed was the 2020 mouse-human embryo that contained up to 4% human cells. Recently, research led by the American Salk Institute and conducted in collaboration with Chinese and Spanish researchers developed the first human-monkey chimera embryos: human stem cells were transferred into monkey embryos.
Until recently, a convention required researchers to keep the embryos alive for a maximum of 14 days, until the appearance of the primitive streak, the beginning of differentiation of cells destined to give rise to the brain and spine.
The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is the largest international organization for stem cell research, is the regulatory body in this field of research, its rules are used by universities, research institutions and scientific journals.
ISSCR, as expected, has updated its guidelines related to stem cell research by removing the 14-day limit. This change, according to ISSCR, reflects emerging advances including stem cell-based embryo models, human embryo research, chimeras, organoids, genome editing, and ectogenesis.
Although these guidelines do not have the force of law, they are highly influential and are followed internationally and will have global repercussions. As for subsequent legislative changes, these will adapt to techno-scientific developments and pressure will increase in key countries such as the UK and the US to change or abolish the “14 day rule” even at the legislative level, and in the meantime research will continue.
Until recently, the “14-day rule” was considered impossible to break because embryos could not be kept alive for more than 11 or 12 days due to technical issues. But after two Chinese research groups announced that they had grown primate embryos in vitro for 20 days, new perspectives opened up. ISSCR has now removed all restrictions, effectively allowing unborn humans at any stage of development to undergo experimentation and manipulation.
Researcher Hanna, who heads the aforementioned artificial womb research group, was just waiting for this limit to be broken, and this step means that he could grow human embryos in his incubator. Here are his words to that effect, “Once the guidelines are updated, I will be able to carry on the experiment.”
A group of scientists at the international level in 2019 had signed a five-year moratorium on genetic editing technology applied to gametes and human embryos intended for implantation. This moratorium, like others in the field of biotechnology development, is not a condemnation of genetic editing of humans (let alone other animals and plants): that would be tantamount to condemning their own research and worldview. Nor is it a condemnation of genetic editing on germ lines, which would bring heritable genetic modification, but a possibility of its application with certain “conditions of transparency, safety and international sharing”.
The moratorium is a pause to create an international regulatory framework and especially to create social acceptance, but in the meantime, research continues and methods are refined. “What we are asking for is a moratorium, not a ban: that is, this is not an attempt to put the brakes on scientific research. […] Gene editing undoubtedly represents a great promise of the medicine of the future, the natural evolution of current gene therapy, but there is still study to refine it in terms of safety and efficacy,” explains Luigi Naldini, an international pioneer in the field of gene therapy and director of the Telethon San Raffaele Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget).
Naldini doesn’t come across with the usual transhumanist rhetoric, he takes issue with the public debate and carefully observing the implications of new developments. Today we find him as a member of the task force of 45 international researchers formed by the ISSCR to revise the guidelines that lowered the 14-day limit.
New French bioethics law: PMA for all and open the way for genetically modified children
The new French bioethics law, which will come into force at the beginning of July, is an important step. It opens up the possibility of access to MAP techniques to any woman, whether paired with another man, paired with another woman, or alone, provides for motherhood through a simple declaration of will, without distinction, according to the law, between the woman who has established a gestational bond and who has given birth, and the other woman. In addition, the establishment of filiation may occur without paternal descent. It will allow the conception of an embryo with male and female gametes derived solely from donation, permitting dual gamete donation. It will allow cryopreservation of ovuli without medical grounds for specific diseases and in vitro fertilization with three parents (sperm, eggs and mitochondrial DNA from another woman). Finally, it opens up the biomarker of gametes.
Over the years, various bioethics laws have progressively favored embryo research. With the current new law for the first time will allow research on the human embryo without the need for exemptions and the time of development of embryos can be up to 21 days.
This law will totally open the way for research on human embryonic stem cells, allow the creation of artificial gametes, chimeric human-animal embryos that can be implanted in animals and human embryos genetically modified for research purposes, thus paving the way for genetically modified children, from GMOs we arrive at BGMs.
The new French law on bioethics is a profoundly eugenic law: it allows the crossing of the species barrier, the choice of embryos to be implanted in order to “use” them as a “medicine” for an older sibling and modify them using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique, and transforms the human being into an organism to be genetically modified.
On paper this law prohibits the implantation and gestation of genetically modified embryos, however it allows the first steps towards children genetically created according to the wishes of the parents-clients.
For some time now, it has been possible for a couple without fertility problems and without the risk of transmitting a genetic disease to go to an assisted reproduction clinic in the United States with the sole purpose of choosing the sex and other characteristics of the future boy or girl. To carry out genetic modifications the first step will have as always a medical modification, but then this is destined to fade away. I remember the progressive opening of national laws in different European countries for pre-implantation diagnosis in which we went from prohibition to exceptions to avoid the transmission of serious genetic diseases, to pathologies with probable onset until you get to blemishes such as cross-eyedness, or Law 40 in Italy, which initially prohibited heterologous fertilization, IPR, cryopreservation of embryos, but these restrictions gradually all fell: with the opening to the possibility of access to MAP techniques to fertile couples who are carriers of hereditary genetic diseases, with the consequent legitimacy of IPR – first steps to extend MAP to all and everyone -, heterologous fertilization and the possibility of using both a sperm donor and an egg donor, the possibility of donating gametes of couples who access IVF clinics to other couples for heterologous fertilization and the possibility of cryopreservation of supernumerary embryos.
In fact, this new French bioethics law makes the modification of the human genome legal.
We should not be surprised, I remember that already in 2008 the British Bioethics Committee had expressed itself clearly in this sense: “The modification of the DNA of an embryo to influence the characteristics of a future person (hereditary genetic modification) could be morally permissible”.
During the historic international summit on human genetic editing in December 2015, conference chair David Baltimore echoed Julian Huxley’s words, “Over the years, the unthinkable has become conceivable. We are on the cusp of a new era in human history.”
Eric Lander announced the conclusion of the Human Genome Project with these significant words: “The Human Genome Project represents one of the remarkable achievements in the history of science. Its culmination this month marks the beginning of a new era in biomedical research. Biology is turning into an information science”, thus commenting on the possibility of guiding human evolution thanks to the Human Genome Project’s reading of DNA (actually only part of DNA, considering that only part of it has been read3) and thanks to the new developments of CRISPR mRNA technology. Significantly, in January 2021 Erik Lander was appointed Director of Science and Technology Policy at Joe Biden’s White House.
Transfeminism, LGBTQ movement, false rights and new expropriations
Artificial reproduction of the human, as an expression of freedom, also made its way into feminist circles in the 1970s with Shulamith Firestone considering the artificial womb as a possibility to liberate women from the “biological tyranny” and “barbarism” of pregnancy.
The Gay Liberation Front’s 1971 manifesto declared that ectogenesis would have the potential to emancipate both men and women by erasing the distinctions imposed on them by nature. In 1997, in an article for the LGBT magazine The Advocate, homosexual neuroscientist Simon LeVay wrote very specific words about interspecific gestation or xenogravidation: “Certainly, I see cloning as a benefit to gays (…) and xenogravidation (delivering a human fetus from a different species) could also be of enormous benefit, especially to gay male couples, who currently have to pay $40,000 or more to have a baby from a human surrogate. The idea revolts you, but why? I would easily choose the uterus of a sober, non-drug, non-smoking pig instead of a normal natural environment.” Having pigs – who don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs so are “healthier” than expectant mothers – give birth to babies after implanting human embryos in them.
Artificial wombs will be loudly claimed by tranfeminism and the LGBTQ movement as a right for single men, homosexuals, MtF trans people. Today they are claiming uterus for rent and MAP for all and sundry. Let’s expose the false rights. Having a child cannot be claimed as a right, neither for a heterosexual couple, nor for a homosexual couple, nor for a single woman or man. The right to have a child cannot exist.
The ability to beget cannot be claimed as a new right for men who identify as women. The dimension of procreation can never belong to them.
Children and the dimension of procreation are not for sale in the biotech market of desires, they are not the object of appropriation by the techno-scientific and transhumanist system.
Sexual difference is based on the power to give birth and on a long history of domination over women’s bodies by those who do not have and will never have this power.
In China a new research has been started, A rat model of male pregnancy. What is the point of taking a male and a female rat, surgically attaching them as Siamese twins -parabiosis-, connecting the two circulatory systems to run the blood of the female in the male, castrating the male, transplanting a uterus in his body, artificially impregnating the female, inserting embryos in the uterus of the male rat and conducting the two pregnancies until a cesarean delivery of both?
It serves to test the possibility of human male pregnancy.
Their research paper states, “For the first time, we have constructed an animal model of a mammal with a male pregnancy. […] Our research reveals the possibility of normal embryonic development in male mammalian animals and may have a profound impact on reproductive biology research.”
If we invoked the defense of animal rights we would have support while we fear it may not be so if we denounced this further expropriation of the dimension of birth that has the purpose of giving birth to a man.
The interests and claims of the LGBTQ movement and transfeminism overlap, once again, with the directions of this techno-scientific and transhumanist system that wants to take one of the last steps to control and manage the process of birth and close the circle on the control of the living.
“None of the alchemists of Los Alamos, artisans of instant death, lost sleep over Hiroshima and Nagasaki: it was an aviator who entered the Trappists after dropping the atomic bomb. Those who had given it to him did not even accompany him to the door of the convent.
The day when, and I tell you that it will not be long, your biologists will have found the way to change human nature by acting on its initial cells, they will make use of it, rest assured, even if they should at first populate the earth with freaks “4.
Let’s unmask the aims of the world of transhumanist and eugenicist research where everything is propagated as if it were an aid for women and men with reproductive pathologies, with possible transmission of genetic diseases, with infertility and to give access to lesbians, homosexuals, transsexuals to the techniques of medically assisted fertilization.
It is the desire to have a child or, better, the right to have a child, which serves as a pretext to make possible the expropriation of procreation, its appropriation and artiticialization, the generalization of artificial reproduction that, subject to the plans and processes of eugenicist and transhumanist scientists, becomes the new norm and the normal way of coming into the world. It serves as a pretext to re-propose eugenics through other languages and other rhetoric than in the past, for a control and management of all living processes, for a control of the very evolution of the human species, for a new humanity, for a post-human and post-nature world.
In the ’80s the radical feminists of the FINRRAGE network (Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering) and of the Rote Zora had deeply understood what the development of artificial reproduction techniques would bring, Gena Corea had compared it to the equivalent in biology of the Manhattan Project. In those years Ellul and Charbonneau were writing about “the manufacture of man by man”, “scientific eugenics”, “man-machine”.
We, and a few others, have been writing about these processes, the development of techno-sciences and transhumanism for more than twenty years, when they were not even minimally known yet, but despite the alarm we have been sounding for a long time, we did not imagine that we would reach this point, that they would push and speed up the research on the artificial womb, but this was the goal, from the beginning.
Eugenists and transhumanists have always worked to ensure that “what is now considered unthinkable may finally become thinkable,” in the words of Julian Huxley.
Today we must oppose what is already there. Opposing MAP is essential to stop this mad rush towards a world without mothers. Otherwise, in a soon-to-be-present tomorrow, we will face the artificial womb unprepared. To neglect to oppose today, without exception, every technique of artificial reproduction, for fear of not having consensus, to continue to defend and claim as a right the possibility of access to the techniques of MAP in certain circumstances, not to understand the centrality of artificial reproduction and therefore of birth in the projects of the techno-scientific system is to strengthen only its direction and to pave the way even more easily and quickly to the complete artificialization of birth.
To oppose the surrogate and artificial womb today, but to accept MAP would be a grave error. Before the transition to ectogenesis we will have the extension of MAP for all and everyone. Not trying to stop this process, understanding that the only way to do it is to be, without exception, against all MAP will only speed up the process that will lead to artificial womb.
And today we cannot oppose the artificial womb without understanding where this process began, without understanding the vision of the world and the living being that feeds this research, without opposing the laboratories where they experiment on bodies and on the whole living being, without opposing all that world made of research, bioethical committees, moratoriums, without opposing this techno-scientific and transhumanist system.
Silvia Guerini, June 2021
Published in the newspaper L’Urlo della Terra, Number 9, July 2021