Artificial uterus for premature infants. Medicine and Science
The development of mammals (including humans) inthe womb is a long and complex process. Of course, he is used to us, and everyone knows what happens at a time when the fetus is in the womb. Scientists have long been asked to grow fruit in artificial conditions. But actively this question began to be investigated about two decades ago.
The first experiments
A successful experiment to develop an artificialThe uterus was made by scientists from Philadelphia. Their way has already been tested and works quite well. In the laboratory of the Philadelphia scientists there was not one fruit, but eight - these are the lambs, which continue to develop under artificial conditions. Their internal organs are constantly increasing in size. Lambs sometimes open their eyes, move, make swallowing movements - all that the fruit must do at a certain stage of its development. Scientists believe that in the future, the artificial uterus will become the ubiquitous method of safe wearing of premature babies.
The minimum term of intrauterine development, afterwhich the fetus can be considered viable, is 20-22 weeks. The body weight at the same time should be about 400 g. Such babies are placed in kuvez, where the necessary level of temperature and humidity is maintained. Also in kuveze used artificial respiration apparatus, expensive drugs. However, even the most modern techniques can not support the environment that could be comparable to the mother's womb.
The dream of scientists
A real womb is a three-layer "bag" ofmuscle tissue. Fetal birth would be impossible without the coordinated work of its three layers - endometrium, myometrium and perimetry. Scientists have already studied the development process well enough: a fertilized egg is introduced into the inner layer of the uterus, the placenta is gradually formed, and fluid accumulates around the fetus. However, until now it was impossible to reproduce all these conditions for researchers. The idea of artificial gestation, like the idea of a homunculus (a man created by the hands of others), has long been stirring the minds of scientists. Such achievements of progress as the creation of an artificial womb, put before humanity a lot of moral and ethical issues. However, progress can not be stopped, and with these questions society will soon face.
How does the device work?
If you look from the side, most of all it looks likeon vacuum packing. In fact, it is no more and no less than a bio-bag. Scientists called their development a biobag, which in English means "bio-bag". On the other hand, the artificial uterus is a system with the same elements as the real uterus. The solution inside it releases the accumulated harmful substances from the fetal organism. In fact, this solution is an analog of amniotic fluid or amniotic fluid. All nutrients, including oxygen, the embryo receives through an artificial "umbilical cord". At the same time, gas exchange takes place here.
Scientists explain: the main problem, because of which premature babies die - is the underdevelopment of the lungs. In the womb of the mother, the baby's lungs are filled with fluid. "Biosume" imitates such a state. And also, unlike other ways of caring for premature babies, it protects the fetus from the pathogenic environment. The artificial womb operates without a pump.
Importance of the problem
Artificial uterus for premature infants couldwould solve the global problem of premature birth. According to WHO statistics, about 15 million children die each year due to prematurity - and this is one in ten of all newborns. About a million of them die right away, and those children who survive may suffer from various physiological or mental problems.
Age of the lamb embryo, which was transplantedscientists in an artificial womb, was equivalent to the 23-week period of the human embryo. Before the experiment was put by Philadelphia scientists, scientists from different countries tried to conduct the experiment. However, the fetus died within a few hours. The problem was that the embryo needed a "bridge" between the mother's womb and an artificial uterus.
At first the device was tested forlambs, whose age was about 120 days. After the embryos spent four weeks in the "biosound" they were carefully examined. The researchers found no problems. One can argue that sheep are at a much lower level of development than people. But now the beginning has already been made, and soon such a device for babies will be invented. Scientists claim that by the time the artificial uterus for humans is developed, it will take only 1.5 minutes to "switch" the fetus from the mother's body to an artificial device. If all further experiments are successful, then in a few years the first tests will begin on people. This development will help save more than one human life.
Animals that have been in the device fourweeks, were to be killed - it was required for their further study and evaluation of the success of the experiment. However, one lamb, to which the scientist had affection, survived, he was sent to the farm.
The future of scientific development
The fact that scientists have already created an artificialthe uterus for gestation of embryos, speaks about significant progress in this area. These experiments are of tremendous importance for mankind. However, despite the fact that the previous experiments were carried out successfully, this is not an absolute guarantee that such a device will be created for the production of human embryos.
If further experiments are successful,Preterm infants after cesarean section will also be moved to the device. Within four weeks, the kids will spend time in conditions as close to natural as possible. Scientists also emphasize: this technology will be successful only for those children who were born after the 24th week of intrauterine development.