Discussions regarding human trials of artificial wombs for premature babies have begun.
“[The technology is] an amazing first step to potentially extending viability and improving morbidity and mortality outcomes for our preterm newborns,” explains neonatologist Shaliz Pourkaviana.
According to the World Health Organization, preterm birth is the leading cause of death worldwide for children under five years old. Premature births are classified as babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In 2020, the number of premature births worldwide stood at around 13.4 million. Various companies are making advancements in artificial wombs that resemble the prenatal environment, with tubes that deliver amniotic fluid, oxygen, and medication. The technology has already been tested on some animals but has not yet received full approval to be tested on humans. Though trials and discussions are still underway, it is essential to note that these artificial wombs are in no way attempting to replace a human mother and will only be used to support infants born prematurely until they have the strength and ability to survive entirely on their own.