Presently, the ectogenesis method, which is proposed to be legalized in Ukraine, is a  hypothetical scientific technology. The possibility of using ectogenesis in modern medicine is being investigated by the world scientific community not with the goal of artificially growing children, but to increase the survival of prematurely born infants.

Another manipulative story about Ukraine being turned into a testing ground is being spread in the Russian media. Referring to a draft law on amendments to the Ukrainian Civil and Family Code, pro-Kremlin media claim that “Ukraine is being turned into a training ground for experiments on raising children outside the body.”

“Ukrainians are officially being turned into guinea pigs… Therefore, the next generation of Ukrainians may be saturated with the failed experiments of Western researchers,” Russian sites claim, spreading conspiracy theories.

Ukraine’s draft law No. 8306 of December 26, 2022 which proposes “amendments to the Ukrainian Civil and Family Code regarding determining the origin of a child raised in an artificial environment outside the human body” was indeed submitted to the Ukrainian Parliament for consideration. The document proposes to preserve the lives of premature infants using the ectogenesis method in Ukraine. Ectogenesis technology foresees the creation of an artificial womb to allow fetal development outside a woman’s body.

Bill No. 8306, which caused such a hullabaloo in the Russian media, has not even been sent for consideration to the relevant committees. Also, the document does not mention the beginning of experimental research in Ukraine or the creation of a legal framework for future scientific research. That is why it is inaccurate and manipulative to say that Ukraine has created a testing ground for growing children artificially.

Ectogenesis is a technology in the early stages of its development. In 2017 American researchers announced the development of an artificial womb, a “”biobag” in which lambs were successfully grown to full term. The technology raises many moral and ethical questions and presently, its development is aimed at saving the lives of premature babies. Russian statements about Ukraine becoming a testing ground for creating children artificially are outlandish claims, not supported by scientific facts.

A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks and babies born before 37-weeks are considered premature, those born before 28 weeks are considered extremely preterm. Modern medicine is limited in what it can do to help such children develop to full term.  Incubators, which provide premature babies and sick newborns with the environmental conditions they need to heal and thrive can help save the child only from a certain developmental period, while ectogenesis can, in theory, help not only save the fetus, but also carry it full term. In the future, this method may allow the pregnancy process to continue outside the mother’s body. Draft Law No. 8306 proposes to legalize such methods of carrying children — there is no conspiracy theory in the document.

In 2017, a group of American scientists published the results of a biomedical research study in the journal Nature, showing that a bag mimicking the environment of a womb was able to support lambs born extremely prematurely for four weeks. The biobag is a polythene bag filled with synthetic amniotic fluid containing antibiotics to prevent infections. Authors of the study point out that it is much too early to talk about similar research on humans. Experts at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital emphasize that their research is not aimed at “creating artificial babies”, but finding a better way to save the lives of babies born too early.