Background, Physiology and Ethics of Artificial Placentas


  • Ashley Zubkowski



Preterm birth, referring to a baby being born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is the leading cause of death in young children and is associated with many complications for the individuals who survive. The current intensive care treatment for preterm infants involves an abundant amount of medical equipment, physiological stressors, and ethical dilemmas. Many of these issues could be improved upon with the use of a fluid-filled sac that mimics the placental environment creating an artificial placenta (AP). 

This paper explores the history of how animal models were used to test AP devices. The physiological stress that preterm infants experience being removed from a placental environment and being surrounded by life-saving medical equipment is highlighted. The paper also explores potential future uses and procedures involved in APs. It concludes with an exploration of AP bioethical considerations through autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice.

In summary, this paper attempts to compile an overview of AP technology through exploring the background, physiology, and ethical considerations involved.






Health Sciences