Just by a strange coincidence at the same time I was mostly through that tedious but famous read Frankenstein – the news broke that Newcastle and Durham’s collective University project has worked out how to manufacture sperm… As I mused on the wild silliness of that old feminist idea that men [as in the male half of the species] are not really needed and this can only add to that strange and destructive argument…
Of course one thing is that as they’ve worked out how to make a sperm from a skin cell – How long before they can make an egg? And then who will be needed? Alright – so that’s science fiction at the moment but last week making a sperm was as well. I’ll stick my neck out and say How Long Before Pregnancy Is A Luxury For The Rich Or Something The Poor Cannot Avoid?
In the late eightees I remember there was some interest in a ‘wet incubator’ that was having some success and how much more interest in developping a wet incubator will there be when sperm and egg can be manufactured, vetted and then wed… why not let them develop slightly longer in the lab… and if possible would the rich spend money on not being pregnant, would folk investigate a full term ‘artificial womb’ or incubator as it would relieve the poor from having to work hard and carry their child?
Frankenstein in his pride wanted to make a creature better than he – We in our pride are content to manufacture ourselves… and make ourselves redundant?
Will we abandon sex completely for the sake of descandants? Will we automatically turn to contraceptives so that we need never worry about what could occur outside the Lab? Could this be the road to Barbarella where only the eccentric or the rich [possible only the rich eccentric] carry their babes?
Barbarella is a vision of a future without sex – could we turn towards sex as nothing more than fun and then for prudes to allow us to worry about diseases and dirt to say that we should refrain?
I don’t think the future is sexless or genderless, even though that might become possible by design… but I do wonder how wise we’d become in a world where hardship is having to go to the shops… How could we relate to another’s pain when all pain is striven to be discarded?
Now I’m sure there are some who have problems with the old ‘plumbing’ and that given that I’m not against an incubator that could help – I’m against what the widespread use of such could mean… Ordered children? Frozen embryoes to be thawed out at a given notice? Just come along at the appropiate appointment and take your child away and here’s some drugs to get you to lactate [if you so desire]… Male or female there could be a drug for either… [Men can lactate given real hardships… for more ask or be bewildered.]
Don’t want a screaming infant? Well, we could use a new and not quite tested method for allowing them to develop a bit more… yes, nutritional supplements and programmes for languages…
Why don’t you just say how old you want them and perhaps take one off the shelf?
If this were to pass over the years [at least two decades I think but I could be wrong…] would we notice any diference in how we related to each other, would we just say that we had come into some Golden Age? and what would we lose?