The bio bag- artificial uterus:
In an early experiment, the newly invented artificial womb was able to sufficiently simulate the uterine conditions to sustain preterm lamb ‘fetuses’ for 4 weeks. These lambs were developmentally similar to human preterms at the approved viability threshold: 24 weeks.
After the incubation period, all subjects were ‘delivered’ and survived. News of the Philadelphia-based team’s victory made global headlines. The bio bag consists of a sealed bag to contain the material, a ‘pump-less oxygenator circuit’ and umbilical cord passage. (1)
The sealed method prevents outside exposure, reducing the risk of infection. The bag allows the constant shift of amniotic fluid, giving all necessary water and nutrients. Cannulae act as an ‘umbilical cord’ providing required nutrients and oxygen into the subject’s bloodstream. Circulation is reliant on the subject’s heart working with an oxygenator.
This simulates normal placental circulation, securing sufficient oxygen and safe blood pressure. The bio bag completely simulates natural gestation in utero. All bio bag test materials had remained normal lung development and circulation without any infection.
The three most regular complications (lung development, circulation, infection) encountered in NIC appears to have been sidestepped. Another research team based in Australia has also formed an AW system with similar success in animal studies. (2)
The enormity of these findings and their ability to reduce morbidity among preterms is difficult to overstate. Further clarification of the big bag as well as scientific and safety validation is required before clinical use can be anticipated.
It seems likely, however, that there are only several years apart from testing on human subjects. If the effects of this animal study are repeated with comparable success there will soon be requests for its use from parents trying to overcome fearful pregnancies or aid preterm children.
The study authors recognize their ‘clinical target population’ as preterms between 23 and 25 weeks gestation. The researcher’s explanation that if animal testing remains to yield positive outcomes the morbidity rate among human preterms simply justifies the use of the technology.
They are already predicting the clinical application of the bio bag. The team’s brief remark of a justification for experimental use indicates they see no meaningful difference between the AW they have created and NIC relevant to decision-making about its effectiveness.
It could be shown there is no variation for now because the purpose of the technology’s use will be alike to NIC. However, because of the implications that will be searched the assumption that there is little variation between AWT and current NIC must be critiqued. (3)
To Know more about Artificial womb, refer:
To be continued with the subjects in the biobag in the next part of can Artificial womb replace a mother’s womb?