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Is the artificial womb the future?

Is the artificial womb the future?

A team of scientists from across Europe hope to build the world's first clinically approved artificial uterus. They hope it will save the lives of premature babies.

Half of babies born at 24 weeks do not survive in incubators. Scientists believe that placing these babies in artificial wombs would give them a better chance of survival.

When the babies are born they are placed in the artificial womb through a liquid tunnel. The umbilical cord is cut and then connected to the artificial placenta. The process should take a few minutes, because if it takes longer the lack of oxygen would damage the baby's brain. The baby spends several weeks receiving oxygen and all the nutrients it needs through the placenta and the artificial womb.

The baby can then be carefully transferred to the incubator. Roughly a million premature babies die each year, but these scientists say it will take about a decade for this technique to be used.