A team of scientists from China has developed a robotic system that takes care of embryos that develop inside an artificial womb.
It is expected that this technology of “bearing” children will be able to increase the birth rate in China, which is now the lowest in the last half century.
The site of the journal Journal of Biomedical Engineering writes about the discovery.
The development can eliminate the need to bear a child by a woman, and outside the mother’s body, the fetus will develop safer and more efficiently. However, current international laws prohibit experimental research on human embryos older than two weeks, so the robot nanny is still “looking after” the embryos of mice.
An artificial womb, or long-term embryo culture device, is a container in which mouse embryos grow inside a culture medium. Previously, in such systems, each embryo had to be constantly monitored, documenting and correcting the process of developing a new life manually.
The robotic nanny monitors the state of the embryos with impeccable accuracy, detecting the slightest changes and deviations in their condition. It regulates the effects of carbon dioxide and the availability of nutrients in the environment. The system can even rank embryos based on health status and developmental potential. When an embryo is severely defective or dies, the robot tells the technician which embryo to remove from the container.