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The legal issues involving artificial wombs

Artificial wombs sound like something out of a sci-fi/horror film, but scientists are making steady progress. Before delving into the legal issues involving artificial womb research and potential custody issues, it is important to address the ethical implications. Many people argue against this type of research, however, scientists counter that it is important to offer life-saving procedures to save young fetuses who would otherwise be lost. Additionally, it provides mothers who are unable to conceive a chance to raise a child carrying her genetic make-up.

Since 1996, researchers have made steady progress utilizing artificial wombs. In 2003, a scientist was able to bring to term a mouse in an artificial womb successfully. Additionally, in 2016, a researcher was able to gestate a human embryo in an artificial womb for ten days.

Currently, research on embryos is limited by the 14-day rule. According to scientific understanding, after 14-days an embryo begins to adopt the characteristics of an individual. Before the 14-day rule, the embryo is little more than a collection of cells because it can still split or merge with another cell.

Scientific ethics aside, there are no legal rules regarding the custody and care rights over artificial embryos or the children born from them. It seems simple to extend parental rights to include artificial wombs. But, many states have had decades to address surrogacy, and many still do not fully discuss the legal implications of surrogacy, which adult gains parental rights or even who should get custody and visitation rights.

If you are trying to sort out a child custody issue, then you should contact a lawyer for legal advice. Child custody issues are sensitive and complicated. You don't want to risk blowing your changes to legal or joint custody because you tried to litigate these matters on your own. The court is concerned with one thing, what is in the best interests of the child. An attorney can help you frame your position and arguments with that principle in mind. It is very easy to bog down into emotional issues; a lawyer can keep you focused on the present issues at hand.