Artificial Wombs For Humans A Lot Closer Than You Think
This may look like something out of a science fiction flick, but artificial wombs are a lot closer than you think.
These apparatus in the video at top, which look like oversized ziplock bags, were tested on eight fetal lambs over a four week period, and amzingly the lambs continued to develop much like they would have inside their mothers womb.
Over the study period, their lungs and brains grew, they sprouted wool, opened their eyes, wriggled around, and learned to swallow, according to the new study lead by Alan Flake, fetal surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The goal is that one day this device could help to bring premature human babies to term outside the mother's uterus.
The device has been named the Biobag, and Flake stresses that, "It's complete science fiction to think that you can take an embryo and get it through the early developmental process and put it on our machine without the mother being the critical element" - its purpose would be for prematurely born babies already sufficiently developed.
According to The Verge, the study period used eight fetal lambs that were 105 to 120 days into pregnancy, which is equivalent to human infants at approximately 22 to 24 weeks of gestation. After the four weeks were up, they were switched onto a regular ventilator like a premature baby in a NICU, and their developmental progress later examined.
So far, the lambs seem pretty healthy. "I think it’s realistic to think about three years for first-in-human trials," Flake says.
Watch the video at top for further info and images from this amazing study.