2017 changed how we’ll have babies

2. The ‘Biobag’ gives preemies a fighting chance

Sure, it’s not the sexiest name, but the Biobag holds hope and promise for the teensiest of humans born. Being born ahead of a baby’s due date is often a recipe for, at the very least, a stay in intensive neonatal care with breathing tubes, round-the-clock watch, and the unspoken but very understood chances that a little one might not make it without the viscous home and nourishment a mother’s womb provides. But an artificial womb, the Biobag, reduces the dismal statistics that stalk preemies with an artificial womb that incubate preemies in their vulnerable state. At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, researchers tested a form with premature lambs at the human equivalent of 23 weeks—considered by medical experts to be “extremely pre-term” and carrying with it risks of permanent mental and physical damage. The lambs have not only survived, but thrived, with the oldest ringing in their first birthday recently. While futurists have long dreamed of “ectogenesis”—the ability for women to have children in a uterus-like environment outside of the body—and the Biobag is not ready for human use, let alone ready for testing whether embryos can survive outside their mother’s womb, there’s hope for the kiddos who come out before they’re due for a normal, healthy life.