Artificial Gestation Unit
|Artificial Gestation Unit|
|Also see||Medical Technology of Charted Space|
|Available from various sources.|
- Most sophont societies develop the technology within the TL:10-12 tech epoch.
- The technology first becomes available in the Distant Fringe at TL-11.
- They are also called Uterine Replicators.
Artificial Gestation Units are essentially room-sized static robots designed to grow fertilized embryos from egg to delivery.
- Each GenPod consists of a central control unit, a complex life support system, sophisticated monitoring equipment, and various arms mounting maintenance tools and medical equipment.
- Each has (typically) twenty artificial uteruses individually contained within protective housings: smaller ("homegrown") and larger (commercial livestock) devices are available, at varying cost and size.
Each uterus is surrounded by a small “body” built from various organic and biomechanical materials that mimic the flesh and bone and fluids of a mother. The foetus grows within a sac of amniotic fluid and is attached to the device by an umbilical cord. Each artificial uterus is an active device – it is able to expand, it is fully articulated to provide movement and activity cycles, and it can adjust factors such as warmth and pressure. It provides a variety of audible noises, designed to aid in the cognitive development of the foetus. The foetus grows at a normal rate within the gestation unit and is delivered by opening the housing. The umbilical cord must be cut. The resulting infant is in all respects a genetically indistinguishable member of its species.
- As described, Artificial Gestation Units are specifically designed to function with Terran creatures of the order mammalia. Other sophont species employ their own versions of the device. There are versions of the device that function only with the lifeforms native to a particular world.
- Artificial Gestation Units are typically used within an agricultural environment to produce large amounts of livestock.
- Artificial Gestation Units designed to produce sophonts are built to a higher quality and provide a substantially more sophisticated feedback to the developing foetus.
Artificial gestation units were originally developed by Terrans during the early Interstellar Wars period, in a long-term effort to redress the gross imbalance between the population of the Terran Confederation and that of the the vast and ancient Vilani Imperium.
- Over a five year period a single gestation unit was able produce approximately one hundred healthy infants.
- The limiting factor on gestation units has always been a supply of viable fertile embryos.
Experiments have been carried out into accelerated foetal growth by using Medical Slow Drug in combination with Artificial Gestation Units.
- The resulting organisms almost always have genetic defects and neurological problems.
- Such actions are considered unethical by almost all legitimate medical authorities.
The Last Armada carried a huge supply of preserved fertilized embryos, harvested from among the population and species of Terra over almost 5 decades. It is believed that the use of Artificial Gestation Units along with natural population growth took the population of the Distant Fringe from 55,000 human pioneers to in excess to three billion in less than a century. The Hoppers, a sophont species native to the region and the earliest human ally, played a hugely important role in raising, educating and feeding these burgeoning numbers of new humans.