Skip navigation

Artificial placentas, pregnancy loss and loss-sensitive care

Artificial placentas, pregnancy loss and loss-sensitive care

Romanis, Elizabeth Chloe and Adkins, Victoria (2023) Artificial placentas, pregnancy loss and loss-sensitive care. Journal of Medical Ethics. pp. 1-9. ISSN 0306-6800 (Print), 1473-4257 (Online) (doi:

45371_ADKINS_Artificial_placentas_pregnancy_loss_and_loss_sensitive_care.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (403kB) | Preview


In this paper, we explore how the prospect of artificial placenta technology (nearing clinical trials in human subjects) should encourage further consideration of the loss experienced by individuals when their pregnancy ends unexpectedly. Discussions of pregnancy loss are intertwined with procreative loss, whereby the gestated entity has died when the pregnancy ends. However, we demonstrate how pregnancy loss can and does exist separate to procreative loss in circumstances where the gestated entity survives the premature ending of the pregnancy. In outlining the value that can be attached to pregnancy beyond fetal-centric narratives, we illustrate how pregnancy loss, separate to procreative loss, can be experienced. This loss has already been recognised amongst parents who have experienced an unexpected early ending of their pregnancy, resulting in their child being cared for in neonatal intensive care. Artificial placentas, however, may exacerbate these feelings and make pregnancy loss (without procreative loss) more visible. We argue that pregnancy is an embodied state in which gestation is facilitated by the body but gestation itself should be recognised as a process – and one that could be separable from pregnancy. In demarcating the two, we explore the different ways in which pregnancy loss can be understood. Our objective in this paper goes beyond contributing to our philosophical understanding of pregnancy toward practical-orientated conclusions regarding the care pathways surrounding the artificial placenta. We make recommendations including the need of counselling and careful consideration of the language used when an artificial placenta is utilised.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: infant-newborn; obstetrics; reproductive medicine; ethics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
K Law > K Law (General)
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2024 16:34

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics