Artificial womb for premature babies
Early babies will soon be able to spend a few weeks longer in a "uterus". Scientists are working on an artificial specimen, which will be a replacement for the incubator.
The intention is that the children can spend extra weeks in a womb-like environment, so that their lungs have more time to develop. According to the scientists at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, this is a better solution than the incubator that is now widely used.
The uterus consists of a container filled with liquids. This simulates the mother's fluid. There is also a mechanical placenta that keeps the oxygen level in the blood steady.
There have been preliminary tests with lambs. They show that the simulation is so close to a real uterus that the technique can really work. The premature lambs continued to grow in the mechanical uterus during the three or four weeks. However, it will take years to be tested with people.
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