Fluid-filled ‘Biobag’ Could Help Prematurely Born Babies:
Scientists have created an “artificial womb” in the hopes of someday using the device to save babies born extremely prematurely.
So far the device has only been tested on fetal lambs. A study involving eight animals found the device appears effective at enabling very premature fetuses to develop normally for about a month.
The device consists of a clear plastic bag filled with synthetic amniotic fluid. A machine outside the bag is attached to the umbilical cord to function like a placenta, providing nutrition and oxygen to the blood and removing carbon dioxide. The device in the fetal lamb experiment is kept in a dark, warm room where researchers can play the sounds of the mother’s heart for the lamb fetus and monitor the fetus with ultrasounds.
Previous research has shown that lamb fetuses are good models for human fetal development.