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What is a Silicon Womb?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Silicon wombs are a relatively new innovation that is anticipated to help couples dealing with infertility issues to be able to have a child. Essentially, the silicon womb provides a means for eggs harvested from the female to be fertilized in a laboratory and then placed into the womb for development. After several days, the eggs are harvested and the healthiest embryos are returned to the womb without the silicon device, in the hope that the pregnancy will proceed naturally.

The silicon womb is a simple device that houses the eggs during the period of incubation. Composed of silicon, this artificial device serves as a womb within the womb. The construction of the silicon womb involves a series of perforations that make it possible for the eggs to be exposed to the natural environment, rather than growing in an incubator in a lab. Proponents of the silicon womb contend that this method is more likely to result in hardier embryos that stand a better chance of developing into a viable pregnancy.

However, not all experts in the field of in-vitro fertilization believe that silicon wombs are necessarily a better option. While testing of the procedure is ongoing, there are some who feel that the silicon womb will not produce embryos that are any more viable than embryos that are developed in a laboratory setting. In addition, there are some concerns about infection due to the introduction of the device into the uterus.

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At the same time, proponents of the silicon womb believe the device has the potential to revolutionize fertility treatments. One possible advantage is that few eggs may be required to achieve a viable pregnancy. If this proves true, it will mean that women who are given hormones to speed up egg production will be able to forego the side effects associated with the procedure. In addition, the silicon womb may also streamline the amount of time required for IVF applications. This could mean less time and less expense involved in helping a couple to conceive a child.

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