Will an Artificial Womb Facility Provide Hope for the Mankind - Nurturing Baby Beyond Mother’s Body

Published: October 2023

What is Artificial Womb?

An artificial womb is a device that can sustain a fetus outside of the mother's body. Artificial wombs are still in the early stages of development, but they have the potential to revolutionize childbirth and save the lives of premature babies. Isn’t it fascinating to see how the fertility’s future is going to evolve? Let us dive deeper to understand this newer technology and how it is going to transform the maternity landscape.

Key Developments in the Artificial Womb Market 

There are multiple players, which are working in this industry. Some of these are mentioned below:
1. In 2023, researchers in Barcelona kept premature fetus of animals alive for 12 days. Based on the initial success, the team is now planning to create an artificial womb for human babies.1
2. In 2017, pediatric researchers of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, US developed the artificial womb specifically for premature babies.
3. In 1997, Juntendo University, Japan experimented with the artificial womb for the fetus of goat. The professor of obstetrics removed the goat embryo of 17 weeks from its mother and placed it in an open acrylic tank, which was filled with liquid at temperature of blood.3
4. In 1990, National University of Singapore kept the fertilized eggs alive in the artificial womb for two days.4

World’s First Artificial Womb Facility Conceptualized 

Hashem Al-Ghaili, a Yemen based molecular biotechnologist, has taken the concept of artificial womb to next level by introducing a curtain raiser to the EctoLife artificial womb facility. The facility, still a concept, has been conceptualized to offers parents the chance to produce babies in a laboratory. 

What are the Benefits of this Artificial Womb Facility? 

EctoLife Artificial Womb facility is promising to deliver 30,000 babies a year in a laboratory. Here are some of the key benefits associated with it.

  • The main aim is to allow infertile couples to conceive a baby and become the biological parent of their child. 
  • It can be a big hope for the women who got their uterus removed due to cancer or other health related concerns. 
  • It is likely to help overcome the existing worry with premature deliveries or C-section.
  • Since the womb is outside the body, it erases the extreme pain of childbirth.
  • It can help the countries with declining population, such as Japan, South Korea, Bulgaria and other countries.

How will the Baby grow using Artificial Womb Technology in EctoLife Artificial Womb Facility?

The baby will grow in a pod, which replicates the exact same conditions as inside the uterus of a mother. The baby will be grown in an infection free environment, which usually will be taken care by mother’s body via her immune system. The following sections highlights the key features of the pod, where the fetus will grow for the 9 months.

Features of Pod Acting as Artificial Womb

  1. It is a transparent system in which parents can see the real time growth of the fetus.
  2. The material used to make pod is chosen considering that it prevents the germs from sticking to its surface.
  3. It has embedded sensors to monitor the key vital signs during pregnancy, which includes heartbeat, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation and respiratory rate.
  4. The pods also shows the real time data on the development of fetus, which can be shared with the parents on their phones. 

What are Designer Babies ? 

Beyond the artificially growing child outside the human body, there are other provisions in the field of biotechnology, which have opened up the new possibilities for disease prevention. The conspiracy theory of genetic engineering which has the potential to make “designer babies.” Using the gene editing tool, CRISPR-Cas 9, the embryo can be modified genetically in different aspects, such as eye color, hair, height, intelligence, strength as well as it can prevent the genetic diseases. 

Want to Know More About CRISPR- Cas9 Gene Editing Technology? 

There is a possibility that CRISPR technology will eventually enable the development of designer babies. 
However, currently CRISPR is being employed in the development of therapeutics across various disease indications. A lot of start-ups are emerging who are exploring the potential of CRISPR and they are signing various partnerships and attracting lots of investment. Roots Analysis has done an exhaustive research to understand the overall CRISPR Gene Editing Therapies Market. If you're interested, you can download the Sample Report on this topic. For personalized assistance in identifying the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at sales@rootsanalysis.com.

Recently, EctoLife has also inculcated this concept of designer babies by offering “Elite Package”. Within this package, parents can customize their baby via genetic modifications using CRISPR-Cas 9. In addition to CRISPR-Cas 9, there are other potential gene-editing techniques, namely zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). These gene editing techniques have also gained some attraction in the past few years, however, the market for Genome Editing Therapy is still in niche stages. 

Challenges and Ethical Concerns Pressing Back on the Concept of Artificial Womb Facility 

  • They are still in the early stages of development, and there are many challenges that need to be overcome before they can be widely used. 
  • They are expensive to develop and operate. 
  • There are ethical concerns about their use, such as the potential to exploit women's bodies or to create "designer babies." 

Despite being considered a boon for certain set of population, this bioengineering technology has various ethical concerns, which is likely to challenge it to become a reality in the coming few years. Due to modification in the genes, it can alter the natural traits and inflame the social inequality. Another main concern is creating a society where only few traits will be valued higher, and others might feel less desirable. This can lead to an extensive discrimination in the world we live in. 

Future Perspectives

Artificial wombs are a promising technology with the potential to revolutionize the way we think about childbirth and neonatal care. However, there are still a number of challenges that need to be addressed before they can be widely used. Despite these challenges, artificial wombs have the potential to revolutionize childbirth and save the lives of premature babies. With continued research and development, artificial womb facility can become a reality in the not-too-distant future. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, artificial wombs could also be used to study fetal development and to treat fetal disorders. They could also be used to create animal clones or to grow human organs for transplantation. The development of artificial womb facility is a complex and challenging undertaking, but it has the potential to make a significant impact on the world. With continued research and development, the use of artificial wombs could one day become a standard medical procedure.

About Author 

Nancy Kapila

I am Nancy Kapila, an accomplished pharmaceutical consultant with a rich and diverse experience spanning more than 5 years. My educational background includes a Master's degree in Pharmaceutics (M.Pharm) from Panjab University, which has provided me with a solid foundation in understanding the intricate mechanisms of drugs and their interactions within the human body. Throughout my professional journey, I have had the privilege of working with various pharmaceutical companies, leveraging my expertise to provide valuable insights and strategic guidance. 

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to staying at the forefront of the ever-evolving pharmaceutical landscape. In an industry characterized by rapid advancements and dynamic changes, I make it a priority to remain well-informed about the latest developments, regulatory updates, and emerging trends. This continuous learning not only keeps me well-equipped to navigate the complexities of the field but also enables me to offer innovative solutions that drive client success. I am deeply fascinated by the potential of data analytics and its transformative impact on decision-making. By delving into data, I can identify patterns, trends, and opportunities that might otherwise remain hidden. This enables me to provide clients with evidence-based recommendations that optimize processes, enhance product development, and drive operational efficiency.

My journey has been marked by a continuous quest for knowledge, an unrelenting passion for data-driven insights, and an unwavering commitment to guiding pharmaceutical companies towards success in an ever-changing world.


Sources: 1 https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/artificial-womb-animal-premature-birth-spanish-researchers-bcnatal-medical-research-centre/article67030522.ece
Sources: 2 https://www.chop.edu/news/unique-womb-device-could-reduce-mortality-and-disability-extremely-premature-babies
Sources: 3 https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wombs-of-the-future-24263
Sources: 4 https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-11-11-mn-5911-story.html


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