Incredible New Experiment Shows Babies Can Be Grown In Artificial Wombs

Incredible New Experiment Shows Babies Can Be Grown In Artificial Wombs

Incredible New Experiment Shows Babies Can Be Grown In Artificial Wombs

By connecting the umbilical cord to a gas exchange that oxygenates the blood, the device function is similar to how a fetus "breathes" in the womb via the umbilical cord.

London- Scientists in the United States have developed a fluid-filled womb-like bag known as an extra-uterine support device that could transform care for extremely premature babies, significantly improving chances of survival.

It could give extremely premature babies a few more vital weeks to develop their lungs and other organs.

Today, premature babies weighing as little as a 450 grams are hooked to ventilators and other machines inside little special capsules.

In a freakish turn of events, scientists have come up with an artificial womb resembling a plastic bag which can help keep premature lambs alive for four weeks outside of their own mothers' wombs and could one day be applied to premature babies.

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Human testing still is several years away.

The Verge / Facebook While inside the bags, the lambs opened their eyes, had apparently normal breathing and swallowing movements and grew wool. "The whole idea is to support normal development; to re-create everything that the mother does in every way that we can to support normal fetal development and maturation", Alan explained.

"Our system could prevent the severe morbidity suffered by extremely premature infants by potentially offering a medical technology that does not now exist", Flake said.

The womb itself, a sealed and sterile bag, is filled with an electrolyte solution which acts like amniotic fluid in the uterus. Researchers were able to keep the lambs thriving and developing up to 4 weeks.

Their bodies and organs grew at a normal weight, and they got adorable white downy coats while in the bag.

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The team of researchers insist it is not looking to replace mothers or extend the limits of viability, but to find a better way to support babies born prematurely.

To see if the device might work on humans, researchers used lambs born at a gestation between 105 to 120 days, which is somewhat equivalent to a human infant born between 22 to 25 weeks. "This could establish a new standard of care for this subset of extremely premature infants". They were euthanised so the researchers could suss their organs and determine the effectiveness of the artificial womb. The team of researchers will continue to evaluate and refine their current external womb and hope to create a version for human infants in the next 10 years.

"So many research groups have been trying to develop a system like this since the 1950s, however they've met with limited success", Dr Davey said.

The device is simpler than previous attempts at creating an artificial womb, which haven't yet panned out.

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