Scientists create ‘Artificial Womb’

Researchers have created a fluid-filled transparent container called the Biobag to simulate how foetuses float in amniotic fluid inside the uterus of their mothers.

Researchers tested five lambs with a biological age corresponding to 23-week human premature babies in the artificially created womb like device. The premature lambs were delivered by C-section and were immediately placed into the womb-like device. To mimic a womb, researchers created a temperature-controlled bag filled with a substitute for amniotic fluid. They used an electrolyte solution to mimic amniotic fluid that the lambs swallow and take into their lungs. The researchers then attached the umbilical cord to the device that exchanges carbon dioxide in blood with oxygen. In early-stage animal testing, all the lambs appeared to grow normally inside the system for three to four weeks. After four weeks, the lambs were seen opening their eyes, started growing wool, breathe and swim. In a sum, the results were found very promising.

Significance

The artificial wombs can facilitate development of premature babies in a uterus-like environment. The womb-like environment will offer them a better chance of healthy survival. At present, the premature babies are hooked to ventilators and other machines inside incubators. Premature babies have high risk factor for getting serious disabilities such as cerebral palsy. One of the biggest risks the premature babies face is that their lungs are not ready to breathe air. When they are hooked to ventilators there is a high risk of lifelong lung damage.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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