Artificial wombs could be the future of medical care for premature babies
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is discussing the use of artificial wombs to help premature babies. What was once considered science fiction few years ago could be the reality and future of medical science.
An artificially created environment for babies who're born prematurely could mimic the conditions of a real womb and help them grow properly. It would be a fluid-filled compartment with the exact temperature and composition as a real womb.
Artificial womb for premature babies
In the artificial chamber that mimics the womb, all electrolytes and other nutrients can be provided mechanically, just like a real womb.
Even medications can be given to the premature baby in the chamber. Tubes and lines can be connected to the baby's blood vessels, which can serve the same purpose as an umbilical cord.
What does an artificial womb do?
A premature infant, one born at less than 28 weeks gestation, faces various growth issues.
They could be avoided, and normal growth be seen, if an artificial chamber mimicking the womb is used. Preterm birth can also affect the mental health of the child.
For premature babies, doctors already use incubators. These are air-filled compartments that maintain womb-like temperature, but incubators cannot mimic the exact conditions of a real womb.
Dr. Shaliz Pourkaviani told ABC news:
"It's an amazing first step to potentially extending viability and improving morbidity and mortality outcomes for our preterm newborns."
It could be a revolution in medical science and help reduce infant mortality. Medical science has advanced a lot during the last few years, and major inventions like this one could change the way we look at medical science.
Artificial womb human trials
So far this technology has only been used on animals, and the results have been very promising.
FDA advisors discussed the future prospects of using this artificial womb technology on human babies. Human trials could start soon. considering the results obtained recently.
Kelly Werner, a bioethicist and neonatologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told Nature:
“This is definitely an exciting step, and it’s been a long time coming. Clinicians who work with premature babies will be closely following this meeting.”
Infant death and incomplete brain and spine development can be prevented in extremely premature babies through this technology.
Artificial wombs can be considered as one of the major new inventions in recent years. It could save countless lives and help women with uterine complications as well.
Indranil Biswas is a nutritionist and personal trainer with a diploma in dietetics and personal training with a specialization in sports nutrition and strength training.
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