Published on in CHOP News
In a step aimed at improving the survival odds for extremely premature infants, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia researchers have created a womb-like device — a fluid-filled “BioBag” that kept fetal lambs alive and healthy outside their mothers until they could survive on their own.
The animals received oxygen through their umbilical cords and continued to develop much as if they had remained in the uterus, giving the team hope that the procedure could be tried on the youngest human preemies within three to five years.
The authors of the recently published research stressed that they were not trying to enable the delivery of babies earlier than the current limit of viability. Instead, their goal is to provide a safe transition to the outside world for those infants, many of whom would not otherwise survive. Those who do survive usually face lifelong disability.