Doctors could use “artificial wombs” to save premature babies, according to new research published by scientists with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The study, published Tuesday, successfully kept unborn lambs alive in an artificial womb with nutrient-rich liquids. Lambs raised using the artificial wombs were normal in every way scientists could measure. Baby lambs developed to the age equivalent of 23-week-old human babies.
Scientists say the technology can be used to keep more premature babies alive. Scientists plan to begin trials on human babies within three to five years.
“This system is potentially far superior to what hospitals can currently do for a 23-week-old baby born at the cusp of viability,” Dr. Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who led the study, said in a press statement.
“These infants have an urgent need for a bridge between the mother’s womb and the outside world. If we can develop an extra-uterine system to support growth and organ maturation for only a few weeks, we can dramatically improve outcomes for extremely premature babies,” Flake said. (Read more from “Scientists Take Big Step Toward ‘Artificial Womb’ to Save Premature Babies” HERE)