• Lyla Kok

Incubator 2.0 Improves chances of survival

From computer model to first clinical trials in 8 years

An artificial womb to increase the survival and quality of life of extremely premature babies by mimicking the conditions of a real womb. While a year ago during the Dutch Design Week it was only a matter of a first design, in the coming years we will be working towards the first (pre)clinical tests. Researchers Prof. Frans van de Vosse and Prof. Guid Oei from TU/e ​​and MMC are the initiators of this research. Because the lungs of extremely premature babies are not yet sufficiently developed, the artificial womb will eventually have to replace the incubator and artificial respiration. That is much more natural, because this technique is much closer to the conditions of a real womb. “We want to use this artificial uterus to help extremely premature children through the critical period of 24 to 28 weeks,” says Guid Oei, a gynaecologist working at MMC and a part-time professor at TU/e.

The chances of survival for these babies are slim; about half die at 24 weeks of pregnancy. And the babies who survive often have lifelong problems with chronic conditions such as brain damage, reduced lung function and/or retinal problems, possibly resulting in blindness. “With each day that the growth of a 24-week fetus in an artificial womb is extended, the chance of survival without complications increases. If we can extend the fetal growth of these children in the artificial womb to 28 weeks, the risk of premature death is three times lower," says Oei. Read the full article here:

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