The lambs spent four weeks in the external wombs and seemed to develop normally.
In an amazing advance in medical science, researchers have developed an artificial womb that is able to grow preterm lambs for up to a month.
The researchers, from the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, have in effect created an artificial womb far more developed than anything produced previously. After going through several iterations of the system (including glass incubators) over a period of three years, they eventually settled on one that utilizes a plastic film bag connected to gas exchange machines and sensors.
The system effectively mimics the conditions within the womb, with the container being filled with a unique lab-produced liquid that replicates amniotic fluid. As the developing lungs are unable to breathe atmospheric oxygen, this step allows the developing foetus to breathe the artificial amniotic fluid that flows in and out of the bag. It also contains all the necessary nutrients and growth factors for healthy development.
The concept is being developed for possible use as a treatment for premature (human) babies.
They move around a little while in the artificial womb!
And here’s the complete video on how this works
All grown up…er…born.