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Premature Sheep Get Womb Service

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Juan

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Something that seems straight out of science fiction, researchers created an artificial womb for sheep. The fake womb is said to be able to support the premature sheep for a month. The artificial womb is very similar to the real deal. The fake womb is made of from a plastic bag filled with synthetic amniotic fluid. Connected to the umbilical cord is a machine outside the bag which gives the sheep nutrition and oxygen to the blood, acting as the placenta. Some of the sheep involved with the artificial womb were euthanized after removal to study, while others were removed and weaned.

The primary purpose of this is to help save the lives of extremely premature babies. Fetal Surgeon Alan Flake has said that everything about his experiment turned out normal. The development of the sheep fetus was the same as if it were in a real womb. He says the plan is to try to test this out on premature babies within the next three to five years. If the tests end up being successful, it is predicted to save thousands of premature babies each year. It’s nice to imagine that we can just grow the babies from the plastic bag alone, but Flake says, “It’s complete science fiction to think that you can take an embryo and get it through the early developmental process and put it on our machine without the mother being the critical element there.” The Biobags purpose is to save the lives of the babies, not start them.

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Premature Sheep Get Womb Service