Artificial Womb

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Pixabay

A newly-born baby in the arms of someone else.

What is the worst feeling a person can have? It’s the feeling a person gets when their newly born baby, sadly, doesn’t live through it’s first few weeks. It is not uncommon for babies to die extremely young. There are babies that have been born prematurely. There’s a chance that the baby will survive, but it is slim. These prematurely born babies are often not fully developed, and can’t survive for long. Scientists and doctors have been working together to try and find a way to help these premature babies live past their expected time. Just recently, scientists created a device that would help prematurely born babies fully develop, allowing them to have a better chance of survival.

 

They call it an artificial womb. The purpose of this device is to help prematurely born babies develop so they can survive. This device contains a clear plastic bag that is filled with amniotic fluids. Outside the bag is a machine that is connected to the umbilical cord in order to make it function like placenta. The exterior provides the baby inside with nutrients and oxygen while it removes carbon dioxide. The entire set-up is meant to support normal development by recreating everything the mother does. The artificial womb is kept in a dark, warm room where the heart sounds are played to help make the baby feel like they are actually inside the womb of their mother.

 

Many other researchers have already praised this new piece of technology saying that it could help save thousands of babies born prematurely each year, if and only if the tests on human subjects work. So that the lives of babies are not put at risk, scientists have tested their artificial womb with fetal lambs only. The tests, gladly, were successful. Inside the womb, the fetal lambs had developed normally, and they have had normal lung and brain maturation. Everything in the lambs’ development was normal. It has been estimated that human subjects will be tested in 3-5 years.

 

Even though the artificial womb can be a life-saver, literally, there is still a problem with the possible ethical concerns. People worry that this isn’t a good solution for human fetuses. They believe that they would rather have the baby die in peace rather than die in pain and discomfort, which the artificial womb might provide. There are also concerns of the life of the baby after this treatment. The baby that does stay inside the artificial womb will most likely have to live the rest of his/her life in a medical institution.

 

Though there are some ethical concerns about this new creation, the idea must be pursued. The machine can literally be saved, and life must be preserved. Thousands of babies die because they were prematurely born. If there is a chance that their lives can be saved, that chance must be taken no matter what.  Eighth grader Rohith V. says, “I believe that this device should be used, but after a bit more time of development just to make sure it is safe.”