General, Research, Technology

Scientists have created an artificial uterus for premature babies

Problem of supporting life andthe full development of premature babies is very relevant today. Prematurely considered a child who was born earlier than 37-38 weeks and having a body weight of less than 2.5 kilograms. About 15 million babies are born annually ahead of schedule annually. This is what prompted scientists from the Philadelphia Children's Hospital to develop an artificial uterus, inside which a premature baby will be safe from the environment and develop over time.

The artificial uterus creates ideal conditions forkids stay. This allows their internal organs to finally form and prepare them for a meeting with the outside world. Inside, a constant temperature, pressure and light level are maintained. It goes without saying that the artificial womb protects the baby from all kinds of infections. The device is filled with constantly circulating amniotic fluid. The umbilical cord is connected to an external oxygenator with a low resistance, providing the baby with oxygen and taking carbon dioxide. All fetal vital signs are monitored by electronic systems.

“Such kids just need a kind ofthe bridge between the womb and the outside world. By creating such a system that can support the growth and development of internal organs for several weeks, we significantly increase the chances of premature babies to survive, ”says Alan Flake, the head of the study.

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The device has been successfully tested on eightpremature lambs that were physiologically equivalent to human babies for periods of 23-24 weeks. The lambs were held in an artificial womb for 28 days, after which they were removed and thoroughly examined. All subjects demonstrated normal development of the brain and internal organs. Staying inside the artificial womb allowed their lungs to fully form and begin to breathe air on their own.

Scientists tried to create an artificial uterus,since the 50s of the last century, however, no group of researchers have been able to achieve serious success in these endeavors. Of course, there were certain achievements, but they were not enough to declare the problem completely resolved. Before starting to test the device in humans, scientists are going to improve their invention, reduce its size and provide additional systems to ensure the safety of the fetus. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications.