An external, artificial womb scientists call Biobag successfully grew fetal lambs, and could one day solve the complications premature human babies face outside the fetus.
Scientists tested eight fetal lamb for four weeks using the artificial womb. The baby sheep were at the human equivalent of around six months of gestation when they were placed inside the bags. After four weeks, they were put onto a regular ventilator, where researchers observed nearly ideal health conditions. Then all but one, which was able to breathe on its own, were euthanized due to “animal protocol limitations rather than any instability,” allowing the scientists to look at their organs. They discovered that the artificially grown lambs had hearts and lungs that developed correctly without any abnormalities.
They say their findings show that a fetal lamb developing equivalent to an “extreme premature human infant” can be supported in their system for up to four weeks.
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