Plans have been set in motion, to create an artificial womb for premature babies to grow and develop in a healthy manner. The funding of 22 million Euros has been approved by the Horizon 2020 EU programme, for researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology, to develop a working prototype of an articifial womb for use in clinics.
This prototype would provide babies with artificial respiration. However, unlike current incubators the artificial womb would be similar to biological conditions, with the baby surrounded by fluids and receiving oxygen and nutrients through an artificial placenta that will connect to their umbilical cord. Also, the prototype would be developed, using 3D printed replicas of human babies that contain a host of sensors that will recreate the experience of being in the womb – including the sound of the mother’s heartbeat.
The research team hopes to have a working prototype of their artificial womb ready for use in clinics within five years, making history!