Here’s an intriguing new development that may save the lives of future extreme premature babies. Scientists are having success keeping lambs alive inside an artificial womb. Their fetal age is equal to twenty-two weeks in human pregnancy. The device provides a nutrient-rich blood supply and what looks like a protective sac of amniotic fluid. The lambs were able to move, open their eyes and swallow normally. The hope is to give critically premature infants a better chance of survival. Researchers may be able to try this with babies in five or six years. They don’t think it would be ready for a hospital NICU for a decade or more. But imagine the many lives this could save, while protecting babies from the frequent and sometimes devastating side-effects of premature birth.
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