Traditional parenthood comprises of a hetero man and a woman. Today, we are seeing increasingly more altnerative parents—eg. same sex, older, and single individuals or couples. At the same time, researchers are discovering ways to create zygotes using pluri-potent stem cells derived from the skin and external artificial wombs. Speculate a future where any parent of any gender or age, can have their own genetic offspring without relying on surrogates, donors, or even a partner.
Today, alternative parents are becoming more common—couples who are same-sex or older, and individuals choosing to have children on their own. These alternative parents rely on adoption, donors, surrogates, and IVF, which can be expensive, tedious, risky, and emotionally draining, not to mention resulting in a child that might not have their DNA.
At the same time, researchers today have discovered ways to create sperms and eggs directly from pluri-potent stem cells from skin cells in mice. Other scientists have built an artificial womb for the last weeks for a baby lamb. These discoveries suggest a future where human babies can also be created artificially outside the body.
Grounded in today’s latest scientific research, this project aims to design an optimal experience for parents in the year 2052. In the process, many questions were raised:
IVG is a new artificial conception method. Taking pluripotent stem cells found in the basal layer of the skin, doctors can program these cells to become sperms or eggs.
EVE is a new assisted gestation service. It is an artificial external womb that carries a baby for the entire 9 months of gestation. A uterine organoid can be grown using a parent’s pluripotent stem cell from the skin, which is then inserted into the EVE to provide oxygen, nutrients, water, and waste removal.
EVE contains an uterine organoid grown from a parent’s pluripotent stem cell and organic components such as the placenta, amniotic sac, and amniotic fluids. Utilities are hooked up to organoid to provide nutrients, oxygen, waste elimination, and heating, as well as other sensors. The womb is encased in a semi-soft membrane that allows the parent and baby to communicate through touch, light, and sounds.
The parents mobile app allows them to monitor the baby and be alerted when necessary. The doctors tablet app gives them medical updates on the fetus so he/she can adjust functions remotely.
Although this is a speculative design project, we identified potential design products for today. Two ideas that came out of this project were to design a better incubator experience for premature babies, and to design a communication system for international surrogate parents and their babies.