Golden Orb Spider Farm
“Current medical advances in the area of infertility medicine and neonatology have made total ectogenesis (the gestation of a human being entirely outside the body of a human female) less a figment of the imagination of science fiction writers … and more a realistic possibility for those living in the not so distant future.”
The project is based on research into how spider silk might become a material of choice for prototyping scaffolds on which to grow human tissue. Research in tissue engineering has indeed found that silk is a better substance than polymeric materials to construct such ‘scaffolds’. Fully functioning hearts and wombs have already been grown artificially on silk scaffolds.
Advances in reproductive science and medicine would enable the complete gestation of a human embryo outside a woman’s body, within the next 5-10 years. In the ethically complex scenario where humans are brought to life in artificial wombs, one can imagine that mother would want to demonstrate maximum love and commitment by providing the the finest and most luxurious womb they could afford. Rather than the synthetic unglamorous Biosteel, mothers might look for rarer, naturally produced alternatives. Golden Orb spider silk, the most precious silk in the world, might answer their wishes.
Last year already, a large and rare textile was made entirely of Madagascan Golden Orb spiders silk - demonstrating its inherent strength, beauty and value.
Golden Orb spider farm speculates that employers may want to persuade their high calibre employees to delay having children in return for hi-tech fertility insurance. Female employees would receive glass Gold Orb spider farms in which to house and breed spiders. The women would feed spiders with flies every day. Once a month, a silking machine would extract several metres from each spider in the farm. In due course this gift is passed on to the child that emerges from the silky womb. Once used, this object might take on a new role of a family heirloom.