CFP: Ethics of Ectogenesis (artificial wombs), Bioethics

Submission deadline: May 1, 2019

Topic areas


The editors of Bioethics are pleased to announce a special issue on the Ethics of Ectogenesis (artificial wombs).

Recent developments in animal studies and human embryology have shown that the use of artificial wombs for human beings might become reality in just a few decades. Partial ectogenesis (removing the human fetus from the female body and gestating it in an artificial womb) raises significant ethical issues, including for example questions about how abortion rights might be impacted. Full ectogenesis, where the embryo is gestated in an artificial womb from conception until birth might have even more severe ethical implications and might force us to rethink human reproduction.

The aim of the special issue is to bring together best papers considering ethical issues regarding either (or both): partial or full ectogenesis. Potential topics will include but are not limited to:

 Are there ethical differences between partial ectogenesis and full ectogenesis?

 How might artificial wombs affect abortion rights?

 Do artificial wombs move too far beyond the proper aims of medicine?

 To what extent are artificial wombs merely another development in neonatal intensive care? Or are artificial wombs conceptually different from current methods of neonatal intensive care?

 Should we give value to ‘natural gestation’ over artificial gestation and for what reasons?

 What kind of impact artificial wombs have on family, sexual rights and reproductive freedom?

 Would providing artificial wombs to transgendered women, gays or single parents raise any special ethical issues?

 Should access to artificial wombs be publicly funded in some, any or all cases?

 Are there any good moral reasons to prohibit the use of artificial wombs?

 What religious perspectives might be brought to bear on the ethics of artificial wombs?

 Who has parental rights and obligations towards the fetus gestated in an artificial womb?

 How would the development of artificial wombs affect women’s role in societies? Should feminists welcome the artificial womb?

The editors welcome early discussions of brief proposals and/or abstracts by email to:

We would like to emphasize that the journal’s readers come from different disciplines, thus, the authors are kindly to asked to submit articles that consider this important aspect. We hope to receive papers from authors working on different disciplines such as philosophy, medical humanities, sociology, theology and law. The main criteria for publication is that the papers have significant bioethical merit on the topic. We encourage scholars from underrepresented groups to submit. We also welcome papers from junior scholars (such as graduate students and un-tenured faculty) as well as people working outside academia. All papers will be subjected to rigorous peer review and the manuscripts will be reviewed by two outside experts.

We are seeking papers of up to 6000 words although there is scope to exceed this limit on request. For further submission requirements, format and referencing style, please refer to the author guidelines on the Bioethics website:

Manuscripts should be submitted online at Please ensure that you select manuscript type ‘Special Issue’ and state that it is for the ethics of ectogenesis special issue when prompted.

Guest Editors: PhD Research Fellow Joona Räsänen (University of Oslo)

Associate Professor Anna Smajdor (University of Oslo)

CLOSING DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 1st MAY 2019, Publication 2020.

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