What is EctoLife, the world’s ‘first artificial womb facility’?

EctoLife is a concept that offers parents to ‘produce’ customised babies with the help of artificial wombs, without going through pregnancy or even conception, notes Interesting Engineering (IE).

The concept is the brainchild of Berlin-based Hashem Al-Ghaili, a producer, filmmaker and science communicator and “molecular biologist by trade”, as per his website. Its concept is based on over 50 years of “groundbreaking scientific research” by researchers globally, he said.

The facility, which would run on renewable energy, plans to house 75 labs, each equipped with up to 400 growth pods or artificial wombs. It will be able to develop 30,000 babies a year in a lab in transparent “growth pods,” as per UK’s Metro newspaper.

The report suggests parents can keep a track of their baby’s growth and development through a screen on the pods that showcase real-time data. It can also report any potential genetic abnormalities in the baby.

During the time of delivery, the baby can be removed from the pod with the “push of a button”. “After discharging the amniotic fluid from the artificial womb, you will be able to easily remove your baby from the growth pod”, a statement was cited by Metro.

Different packages will be provided. One of them is the ‘Elite Package’, which would allow people to “genetically engineer the embryo before implanting it into the artificial womb” and let parents “fix any inherited genetic diseases”. Parents can select their baby’s level of intelligence, height, hair, eye colour, physical strength and skin tone.

Al-Ghaili believes that artificial womb facilities could become a reality in 10 years or so if ethical restrictions are removed, reports Mirror.

He claims the artificial womb facility can “help” countries facing the problem of a declining population such as Japan, Bulgaria, and South Korea among others.