Reproductive medicine has made huge strides over the last few decades. Now it is claimed we are within ten years of developing an artificial womb, raising the possibility that having children could take place without pregnancy or childbirth. In Brave New World, the artificial womb spells a dystopian future, where children are removed from loving relationships and brainwashed by the state.  Yet for many feminists, this prospective alternative to childbearing is the route to emancipation. While others point to profound dangers arguing that artificial wombs could upend the social structure, family relationships and the very fabric of society.

Is it time to make childbirth a technological, not a biological, phenomenon? Should we welcome this as a critical stage in the development of human organisation enabling genuine equality between the genders? Or is this a frightening prospect that will remove from women the monopoly of reproductive capacity, endangering their position and posing a threat to the legal, social and cultural organisation of society? 

Futurist Anders Sandberg and scholar of gender, radical author Mary Harrington and post-socialist studies Kristen Ghodsee grapple with the profound implications of artificial wombs. Güneş Taylor hosts.

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