Pregnancy is a truly wondrous thing, but it can also be a bit of a drag. Your ankles swell, you gain weight... then there's morning sickness and stretch marks to think about. Although it's truly a privilege to have a child, what if science gave us all another option? At a recent Biodesign Challenge Summit, 24 student teams from 22 universities around the world offered up various projects, but we're here to talk about one in particular - the artificial womb created by the ArtEZ School of Product and Design.
The pod sits neatly in your living room and is transparent so you can see every step of the development of the fetus. Intended as a way for children to be born without the womb of a woman, the design could allow couples with fertility issues to have their own kids while keeping them as part of the process. The concept product has heating and feeding tubes to mimic the womb environment, giving the baby everything it needs to develop. The device, dubbed the Par-tu-ri-ent comes with a microphone that can record voices, allowing the baby to connect with the sound - just as it would if it was living in a real life mama. When the time is up, there's no rush to the hospital or panic packing of bags - you simply take the lid off and hey presto, you have a baby.
It might sound like something straight out of a movie, but scientists have been looking into similar products for years now. Could you imagine eschewing the natural route for something as easy as opening a jam jar? Sure, there are undoubtedly some kinks to be ironed out and a lot of thorough testing to be done, but this could be the future of childbirth. It might sound a little scary, but think about the joy it could bring couples - or individuals - struggling to conceive.
Something tells us that this is just the beginning. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!