Eight lambs born prematurely were kept in artificial wombs called Biobags.
After 4 weeks, the lambs’ brains and lungs developed, they grew soft fleece and even opened their eyes.
Scientists are hopeful that this technology will help save premature human babies in the future.
Science Mag writes –
Overcoming engineering, biology, and technology obstacles, a team of researchers has crafted what may be the best artificial womb yet: a fluid-filled bag in which lambs born early can live for up to 4 weeks, before being ushered into the outside world. Although others have designed similar systems that are still in animal testing, this one is notable for its stripped-down simplicity.
The result is a sealed “biobag” with one tube supplying artificial amniotic fluid and another draining it out. Although some lambs experienced complications, and human testing is, at best, several years off, the advance is generating excitement among those who care for pregnant women and their extremely premature babies.
“What they’ve got is a system where the fetus is really existing very much as it would in the mother’s womb,” says Anna David, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at University College London (UCL). “The fetus knows what to do,” she adds, noting that as best they could, the physicians stepped aside and ceded control.