Researchers Have Developed an Artificial Womb Using a PE Bag
Research scientists working at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have announced that they have successfully tested an artificial womb.
Premature lamb fetuses were placed in the PE bag that would stand in for their mother’s womb for four weeks, during which time they not only survived, but continued to develop as if they were being carried naturally by their mother. The eight fetuses used in the experiment gained weight, grew wool, and began to move and open their eyes.
The researchers hope to apply these findings to the development of artificial wombs that could sustain premature human babies. Each year 30,000 babies are born prematurely. These babies have their natural lung development cut short, which can lead to a number of health problems. If a premature baby could be placed into an artificial womb and allowed to continue to develop it would hopefully lower the risk for these serious respiratory issues.
This development does not signal the end of natural child bearing, however. The research team made it clear that this technology could only be used successfully on babies born after at least 23 weeks in a natural womb.