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Scientists create 'artificial womb' that could save premature babies' lives

• independent.co.uk by Katie Forster

Extremely premature babies could be kept alive in future using an "artificial womb" that scientists plan to test in humans after a successful study involving unborn lambs.

A plastic bag filled with artificial amniotic fluid – the nutrient-rich liquid that sustains a foetus in the womb – allowed foetal lambs to develop at an age equivalent to 23 weeks in humans.

Human infants born at 23 weeks have just a 15 per cent chance of survival, according to pregnancy research charity Tommy's. This rises to 55 per cent at 24 weeks, while babies born at 25 weeks have an 80 per cent chance of survival.

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