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Silicon Womb Detail  (Source: Anecova)

Silicon Womb vs. Traditional AVF  (Source: Anecova)
Silicon womb incubates embryos inside the mothers own body

For the many people around the world affected by infertility who hope to have their own biological children and raise a family, the only option is in vitro fertilization (IVF). With typical IVF, eggs are harvested form a woman in bulk and then fertilized in a lab dish. The dish requires maintenance every few hours to keep waste materials away and keep fresh nutrients the embryo needs to develop available.

After a two to five day incubation period, the healthiest embryos are transferred to the uterus in the hopes of a successful pregnancy. The process has a success rate according to some sources of only 30%. Trials of a new silicon womb are set to begin in the UK and researchers hope the device will reduce the amount of eggs required for IVF and increase the chances of a pregnancy.

The silicon womb allows embryos created in the lab to be placed inside a perforated silicon tube and implanted into the woman’s body. NewScientist reports that the silicon womb is about 5mm long and less than 1mm wide with walls that are perforated with 360 holes about 40 microns in diameter.

Once the lab loads the tube with embryos the tube is implanted via the cervix into the uterus of a woman. The tiny holes allow the normal uterine fluids to reach the embryos providing a more natural environment for them to grow.

Forty women are being recruited for a trial of the silicon womb and each woman will have eight to twelve eggs harvested -- half of the resulting embryos will be incubated in the lab and half inside the silicon womb. Researchers say that half of the participants will have the silicon womb’s removed after two days and the embryos will be checked for genetic defects and the remainder of the volunteers will have the silicon wombs left for four days.

Simon Fishel, the man leading the trial at CARE Fertility in the UK, said that the trials are encouraging, but not conclusive. Fishel told NewScientist, “We will be able to directly compare the results of the in vitro and in vivo techniques.”

Fishel goes on to say, “We don't really know the full ambient conditions of the reproductive tract. It is also a dynamic environment that changes constantly, and we can't replicate that."

Even if the silicon womb works, it is still not ideal according to researchers. In a normal pregnancy the embryo develops inside the fallopian tube during the typical seven days it takes to move from the ovary to the uterus.

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By jskirwin on 2/28/2008 2:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
This allows the embryos to develop after fertilization inside the woman's uterus instead of in a petri dish. After a few days the "womb" is removed and the embryos culled, selecting the best ones for implantation into the woman's uterus.

Why not just implant the embryos directly into the mother in the first place?

It sounds to me like this is really a silicon "cage" that keeps the embryos together while the uterus itself does the nurturing.

What am I missing - because this doesn't seem like a big deal to me.

RE: So...
By OrSin on 2/28/2008 3:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
the thing is they harvest a dozen eggs. You dont want 12 reinserted at once. Instead they wait and oniy resert the healthest. Alot of infertal couple the major problem happens whent he egg is still coming down the tubes and when it tries to attach to uteris wall.

RE: So...
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 2/28/2008 3:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Like it said in the article

In a normal pregnancy the embryo develops inside the fallopian tube during the typical seven days it takes to move from the ovary to the uterus.

If they put it in right away it isn't ready to be there and won't work. They put it in before the full 7 days because it is hard to keep them alive for that long.

RE: So...
By Pneumothorax on 2/28/2008 4:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
Probably becuase they want to see if the embryo is viable first. Majority of fertilized eggs don't even make to the early stages and are just pssed along with the "period"

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