Researchers trying to create womb-like device to save premature babies

A team of American doctors are attempting to create an artificial womb-like environment that would be able to save extremely pre-mature babies with underdeveloped organs.

The device in question, which is currently being tested on baby lambs, makes use of a fluid-filled, temperature-controlled container. It is near-sterile to help the fetuses grow in a womb-like environment.

In fact, the extremely pre-mature babies breathe in amniotic fluid, just a baby does in the mother’s womb.

The team of doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philedelphia attached the external gas exchange machine to the baby’s umbilical cord, substituting for the mother’s placenta as well as emulating the conditions in the womb.

Dr. Emily Partridge, a CHOP research fellow, said, “We start with a tiny fetus that is pretty inert and spends most of its time sleeping. Over four weeks we see that fetus open its eyes, grow wool, breathe, and swim.”

If the researchers succeed, it would be very helpful in saving lives of millions of pre-mature babies that expire soon after their birth each year around the globe. The ongoing research was detailed in the journal Nature Communications.

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