Towards an artificial womb
Following their birth, each child faces a physiological transition from mother-placental life support to (self-sufficient) life outside the womb. For some premature babies, this transition occurs too quickly. This places a heavy demand on the child’s immature vital organs, which is why extremely premature babies often experience serious, lifelong health problems with possible social consequences. As a trial in recent years, premature lambs have successfully been kept alive in a fluid-based environment, allowing them to develop in the same way as in the womb. The results are also promising for human application. The WOMBATH consortium will develop a medical device – an artificial womb – that supports the safe development of extremely premature babies outside of the womb. Ultimately, these infants will have better health prospects than premature infants with conventional care.
Partners: LifeTec Group, Máxima Medical Center, MEDSIM, NEMO Healthcare, POLIMI, RWTH Aachen, TU/e