Researchers made an interesting finding recently, describing the improved potential for survival of extremely premature babies born between 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy in artificial wombs that mimic the conditions of a normal womb.
Premature babies are at risk of several health complications as a result of their poorly developed bodies. While more than half of extremely premature babies die at 24 weeks of pregnancy, the other surviving babies may develop life-long problems including brain damage, blindness, and respiratory difficulties. To improve the chances of survival of these extremely premature babies, a team of scientists examined how artificial wombs may be of value.
The experiment describes the function of the artificial womb as replacing the ventilator and incubator, which premature babies are often nursed with till their lungs mature and they can survive in normal external conditions on their own. Since premature babies have poorly developed lungs, an artificial womb provides oxygen as well as nutrients supplied through an artificial placenta.
The scientists used computer models and simulation manikin to test the effectiveness of the artificial womb and found that it has the potential to sustain a growing baby until they are fully developed and ready for external life.
The technology would need to undergo more testing and modification before it can be done on a real premature baby.