An Eindhoven project for the development of a first-ever artificial uterus has received a substantial subsidy. The European Union is investing almost €3,000,000 in this research.
Scientists at the Eindhoven University of Technology and gynaecologist, Dr Guid Oei, from the Maxima Medical Centre are responsible for the development. Until now, there was only a first design at Dutch Design Week. But with the additional subsidy, a working prototype can be made.
With the artificial uterus, a real uterus is copied as much as possible. By imitating the conditions of a real uterus, the chance of survival for premature babies could be greatly increased, according to the developers.
An artificial uterus can replace incubators and artificial respirators. It will be a more natural environment because it approximates the natural conditions of a real uterus much more closely. “The aim is to use an artificial uterus help children born extremely early through the critical period of 24 to 28 weeks”, Oei says.
Survival rates for babies born very early are small. Approximately half of them die before the 24th week of pregnancy. The children who do survive often have life-long brain, lung, and eye problems.
Editor: Melinda Walraven