Scientists from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA, have developed a device equipped with plastic “pouch” filled with fluid and cord, similar to umbilical cord through which oxygen is transported, thus it is creating an environment in which the fetus develops. Read how this artificial womb is made and how this can lower the chance of death among the prematurely born babies.
How This Artificial Womb is Made
This device is filled with fluid, which is actually a replica of the uterus, and it will significantly improve the survival chances of babies born prematurely, according to a study published in the journal “Nature Communications”.
Thanks to this device, scientists managed in a duration of four weeks to develop fetal lamb, an animal whose lungs are developed in a very similar way as the humans, according to a study.
Fetal lamb was put in the device after 15 to 16 weeks of gestation. It is a stage where the development of their lungs is equivalent to the development of extremely early premature human fetus birth, from 23 to 24 week of gestation.
Alan W. Flake, one of the authors of the study said that seven lamb fetuses normally developed and survived more than 25 days. According to the study, this is the first time an external system successfully to maintain the vital functions and to ensure the development of animal fetuses.
Development of an artificial womb that would be suitable for human fetus will take another 10 years, but such a system would be much better than incubators which are artificially ventilated.
Nearly 30,000 infants in the United States are born prematurely, between 23 and 26th gestational week. In that stage of development the child weighs barely 500 grams, his lungs are not capable of breathing and the chances of survival are very low. The mortality rate reaches 70 percent, and those who manage to survive are facing long-term disabilities.