Artificial Womb (2018)

Image: Bram Saeys

Image: Bram Saeys

Concept & design: Lisa Mandemaker & Hendrik-Jan Grievink (Next Nature Network)
Medical research: Dr. Guid Oei (Máxima Medical Centre)

In the future, artificial wombs could replace incubators as they mimic the natural environment of the female uterus. But how will these artificial wombs look like? And how should we respond to such technology if or when it comes knocking on our cultural doors?
At the Dutch Design Week 2018, we presented a speculative design proposal for an artificial womb in close collaboration with Maxima Medical Centre (MMC).

MMC is taking steps into the development of the first artificial womb in order to increase the chances of survival of extremely premature babies in the period of 24-28 weeks. The chances for survival in these cases are very low: 61% dies with 24 weeks and 43% with 25 weeks. The babies that survive often suffer from chronic damage such as brain damage, breathing problems, retina problems and possibility of blindness. “Every week we can prolong the growth of a 24-week old foetus in an artificial womb, we increase the chances of survival with 18%”, according to Guid Oei, gynecologist at MMC. “If we can extend this to 28 weeks, the biggest danger of premature death is probably gone.”