1) Grow the endometrium using stem cells (It has already been done (Cambridge, 2017))

2) Attach the embryo to it and allow the placenta to grow.

In 2003, there was a researcher at Columbia who did something like this, but there was no technology to create endometrium tissue. She used some donated infertile tissues, but the rat embryos did attach to it and grow, although the growth itself was retarded. That's understandable since the endometrium has some special secretory functions. So what could be the issues with the method I have suggested?

A lot of the new approaches seem to involve artificial placentas , which are probably not very easy to create. The don't seem to be the most obvious approach either. I think a large part of the issue is that you won't get funding if you say you want to create an artificial womb, because of the ethical issues involved. So you have to show some connection to neonatal stuff and hence the easiest approach is neglected. Am I right in this assessment?

  • $\begingroup$ Links to the papers you are referring to would be much appreciated. $\endgroup$ – alec_djinn Oct 30 '17 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @alec_djinn I have included popular science articles. $\endgroup$ – user2277550 Oct 31 '17 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ personally I think that artificial wombs grown by robots are the only way that advanced speciecs such as humans can be reborn on a star system 100 or 1000 light yeaers away. i like the technology. ... Your question didn't specify In Vivo or Vitro artificial wombs. you need heart/blood/lymph etc. $\endgroup$ – aliential Oct 31 '17 at 4:21

In the paper you have (indirectly) linked, the authors describe cultures of organoids. Despite their fancy name and the catchy title of some news article about them, organoids are very far from being mini organs. They are a bunch of cells that grow in a 3D structure and they may resemble an organ in term of cell type and some cell-to-cell communication, but that's pretty much all. Mind that an organ is vascularized, organoids are not. The vascularization allows for organ-to-organ communication, like the delivery of brain-made hormones, for example. Such communication is extremely important during the embryo development, it's not only the endometrium missing here. I am not saying that is impossible to make artificial wombs, but organoids alone will not be sufficient.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, as far as I understand, the womb requires just one tissue effectively, the endometrium. The other tissues in the womb (smooth muscle, stem cells) are not necessary if you just want gestation. So it doesn't seem like an entire organ with all the signalling is required. The hormonal levels in the blood itself can be mimicked I guess, as long as those hormones can be received and understood by the endometrium. $\endgroup$ – user2277550 Oct 31 '17 at 14:34

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