Gestation, equality and freedom:Ectogenesis as a political perspective

Cavaliere, Giulia (2020) Gestation, equality and freedom:Ectogenesis as a political perspective. Journal of Medical Ethics, 46 (2). pp. 76-82. ISSN 0306-6800

Text (Main_Text)
Main_Text.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (217kB)


The benefits of full ectogenesis, that is, the gestation of human fetuses outside the maternal womb, for women ground many contemporary authors’ arguments on the ethical desirability of this practice. In this paper, I present and assess two sets of arguments advanced in favour of ectogenesis: arguments stressing ectogenesis’ equality-promoting potential and arguments stressing its freedom-promoting potential. I argue that although successfully grounding a positive case for ectogenesis, these arguments have limitations in terms of their reach and scope. Concerning their limited reach, I contend that ectogenesis will likely benefit a small subset of women and, arguably, not the group who most need to achieve equality and freedom. Concerning their limited scope, I contend that these defences do not pay sufficient attention to the context in which ectogenesis would be developed and that, as a result, they risk leaving the status quo unchanged. After providing examples of these limitations, I move to my proposal concerning the role of ectogenesis in promoting women’s equality and freedom. This proposal builds on Silvia Federici’s, Mariarosa Dalla Costa’s and Selma James’ readings of the international feminist campaign ‘Wages for Housework’. It maintains that the political perspective and provocation that ectogenesis can advance should be considered and defended.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Medical Ethics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
02 Dec 2019 10:35
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 08:28