Current Stem Cell Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 69–73 | Cite as

Development of the Artificial Womb

  • Emily A. Partridge
  • Marcus G. Davey
  • Alan W. FlakeEmail author
Prenatal Therapies (WH Peranteau, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Prenatal Therapies


Purpose of Review

Prematurity is a global health problem representing one of the most significant causes of morbidity and mortality in children. The concept of an artificial womb has been explored as an innovation which could substantially improve clinical outcomes in preterm patients by offering the ability to support growth and development of the neonate in a manner consistent with fetal physiology. This review will address the contemporary literature exploring the development of the artificial womb, with a focus on promising new breakthroughs in the field.

Recent Findings

Our laboratory has reported the development of an artificial womb incorporating the critical components of intrauterine physiology, namely sterile fluidic incubation of the isolated fetus as well as perfusion and gas exchange using a pumpless extracorporeal circuit. We have demonstrated support of fetal lambs for up to 4 weeks with stable hemodynamics and normal growth and development.


The artificial womb represents unprecedented potential for improvement in clinical outcomes in critically preterm infants. Recent studies have demonstrated promising results in preclinical animal models, supporting the translation of this technology to human clinical trials.


Extracorporeal oxygenation Fetal physiology Umbilical cannulation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Emily A. Partridge reports she has a patent WO2014145494 A1 issued to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Marcus G. Davey reports he has a patent WO2014145494 A1 issued and a patent PCT/US16/38045 pending.

Alan W. Flake reports he has a patent WO2014145494 A1 issued and a patent PCT/US16/38045 pending.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily A. Partridge
    • 1
  • Marcus G. Davey
    • 1
  • Alan W. Flake
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Division of General, Thoracic and Fetal SurgeryChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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