Scientists have done the unthinkable by creating an artificial womb which could one day be a lifesaver for babies who are born prematurely. The device which was tested on fetal lambs is proving extremely promising according to a study that was published in Journal Nature Communications in April. The device was found extremely effective in supporting lamb fetuses to develop for a month.
Lead author of the study Alan Flake, fetal surgeon at the Children’s hospital in Philadelphia was quoted as saying “We’ve been extremely successful in replacing the conditions in the womb in our lamb model”.
1 The artificial womb mimics an actual womb
The lamb fetuses showed normal growth and normal lung maturation. The brains of the mammals also developed and matured normally. According to Flake, the device may be tested on premature human babies within 3 to5 years.
The artificial womb is a device that mimics the entire environment of an actual womb and consists of a transparent plastic bag filled with amniotic fluid. A machine outside the bag acts like a placenta and is attached to the umbilical cord. This provides nutrition and oxygen to the blood of the fetus also removing carbon dioxide.