According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year. That is more than one in ten babies. Prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5, and those that survive can face a lifetime of disability, with one million premature children dying every single year.
Those are some pretty grim statistics, but it used to be a lot worse before modern medicine, and thanks to a recent breakthrough, it could get a lot better.
Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia were able to keep eight extremely premature lambs alive for four weeks in a fluid-filled plastic bag, dubbed the Biobag, that acted just like a womb. And lead author Dr. Alan Flake hopes that something similar could be used for premature babies within the next three years.