Artificial womb created

  • Olivia Fens

Japanese scientists have created a ‘womb’ for incubating IVF fertilised eggs.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) have created a microchip that mimics the conditions of a natural womb.

They say using such a device could improve the success rate of IVF.

The researchers say they are providing the embryos with a much more comfortable environment, mimicking what happens in the body. It works like a bed for embryos.

The research, published in  New Scientist Magazine, found that 30 out of 50 fertilised eggs grown on the chip developed into early embryos, compared to 26 out of 50 fertilised eggs grown through traditional IVF.

Traditional IVF uses mineral oil and culture fluid to cover the fertilised egg and stop the egg from drying out. The ‘chips’ now mean that fresh IVF embryos rest on a membrane of cultured uterus cells. Once they are ready to attach themselves to the uterus wall, the eggs are reinserted into the mother's womb.

The scientists found that 80% of embryos held inside the chips were ready for the uterus in 72 hours, while only 20% of embryos held in microdroplets grew to that stage in the same amount of time.

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Homer - 02/08/2007 19:06

Hello We are a childless couple. Our opinion is that scientists shoud not make/invent wombs for humankind/animal. This is not correct.And should be left alone.

Anonymous - 03/08/2007 08:47

This is fantastic news both for IVF patients and others with womb related fertility problems,

Anonymous - 03/08/2007 11:05

Homer, what is the difference between this and IVF. I tis simply an extension of IVF. THe choice is there, if you want to use it to assist fertility, you can, if you don't want to, don't. The choice is up to you as it is for everyone. I am child-free by choice but I for one think it is a great development.

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