Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have created an artificial womb, that they hope can one day protect humans from the complications of premature births.
Prematurity is the leading cause of death for newborns.
Right now, the doctors are growing lambs in the artificial wombs.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Alan Flake says, "We've been extremely successful in replacing the conditions in the womb in our lamb model.”
"If you can just use this device as a bridge for the fetus then you can have a dramatic impact on the outcomes of extremely premature infants. This would be a huge deal."
Dena Davis, a bioethicist at Lehigh University, doesn’t like the idea of using the artificial wombs on humans at all. "Up to now, we've been either born or not born. This would be halfway born, or something like that. Think about that in terms of our abortion politics.”
Dr. Flake says researchers have no interest in trying to do this with fetuses younger than 23 weeks.
Whether you think it’s a miracle or a controversy, saving the lives of premature babies with an alternative incubator is an idea worth exploring.