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ASSISTED GESTATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

A large body of literature considers the ethico-legal and regulatory issues surrounding assisted conception. Surrogacy, however, within this body of literature is an odd-fit. It involves a unique demand of another person – a form of reproductive labour – that many other aspects of assisted conception, such as gamete donation do not involve. Surrogacy is a form of assisted gestation. The potential alternatives for individuals who want a genetically related child but who do not have the capacity to gestate are ever increasing: with the advent of uterus transplantation (UTx), and the anticipated development of artificial placentas.

In this paper, I highlight the pertinent conceptual differences between technologies assisting conception and those assisting gestation to demonstrate that distinct issues arise when assisted gestative technologies (AGTs) are used. I argue that there is utility in of considering AGTs as a genus of technologies. These technologies perform the same function from the perspective of putative parents and might exist on a spectrum of alternatives when they become more available. Moreover, since many of the same ethical, social, and legal issues are raised by surrogacy, UTx and ectogestation, analysis of these issues will be better contextualised by considering these technologies together. Many of the matters currently being highlighted for reform in the context of surrogacy will inevitably impact on how other forms of assisted gestation are governed. The conversation should be broadened; we should consider how far other emerging technologies might be accommodated in revised regulatory schemes.