The future of premature babies?


Photo by Henry Hemming, published on March 18, 2017, some rights reserved, license link:

The “BioBag” is currently being tested with premature lambs with a high success rate.

A new practice is taking the medical world by storm. It has been over 20 years in the making. Currently being used on premature lambs, due to their similarity with human physiology, the medical miracle is making strides in the healthcare world. Led by Dr. Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon and director of the Fetal Research at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the practice is very promising for future use among premature babies.

The practice uses futuristic “BioBags”, which are very reminiscent of a regular plastic bag, to successfully grow premature lambs. They were able to create a sterile environment mimicking the natural womb without a placenta or as Dr. Flake described: “replac[ing] the function of the placenta”. The polythene bag, which contains amniotic fluid, has proved to stimulate healthy and normal growth for the lamb with sufficient oxygen and nutrients.

Published on April 25th, this attractive practice is being scaled down to be used on human premature babies. In America alone, premature births is the leading cause of infant mortality; 1 in 10 U.S. births is premature; with proper funding and further development of research, this artificial womb has the potential to save many lives while stopping many ailments and preventing premature babies from living a life of medical hardship.