Could the placenta continue to function?

Could a placenta continue to function in a proper environment, if not amputated from the infant?

Function as what?

In a body temperature fluidic environment, with agents carrying nutrients, oxygen, and waste products; could the placenta continue it’s natural functions of gas exchange, nutrient retrieval, and waste disposal?

Need answer fast?

Considering that… at the time of birth, the placenta is IIRC working full out, and overdue babies can have complications due to the placenta not being able to sustain a large fetus - probably the basic functions would continue, but the placenta would not be sustainable. Then there’s the question of what sort of interface environment it needs. I assume just plopping it in a tank may not suffice?

And a doctor or biologist might chime in here about what hormones trigger birth and whether that “turns off” the placenta?

Those functions depend on close contact with the maternal blood supply inside the womb. They couldn’t be maintained by a simple fluid environment.

You’ll need some of this first.

OK, I’ll bite. (The Placenta Helper made it tempting.) I suppose what you’re asking, if I may presume to predict the trajectory of your turning wheels, is could the placenta-cord-fetal unit, if maintained in continuity, be removed from its “proper environment”, i.e. the uterus of the maternal unit, and be placed in an extracorporeal confinement situation which has been set up and regulated such that fetal development and\or term infant in-limbo-ish survival could continue.

Interesting question.

I suppose * in theory* it might be possible. But a lot of things might be possible * in theory*. Sometimes I wish that we lived * in theory*. But most of the time not.

This is one of those times.

No. The placenta is a temporary organ. It ages and its ability to function declines rapidly.

Another question to consider is whether or not a placenta that remained connected after birth (connected to the baby only, not the mother) could continue to function in some way. So suppose the umbilical cord and placenta are kept connected throughout the baby’s first year of life. What would happen? Would the placenta die anyway? Could it be kept alive somehow, and possibly used as a feeding mechanism (shades of Borg cubicle type arrangements?)? Would there be an upper age limit for the child in terms of keeping the placenta alive and/or useful? E.g. how about age 10? 20? 50?

Placentas do continue to function after birth.

A couple of the hospitals I work in play a selection from “Brahms’ Lullaby” whenever a new placenta is born. Shortly thereafter if you look out, you can see them wriggling down the corridors with their pseudopods, umbilical cords trailing.

Inspiring, but kinda messy.

Lotus birth?

Find your own link! LOL!

Thanks for the nightmare!

The capability of the agents to carry what is needed may be facilitated by individual propulsion, depending on the environment, and logistical accommodations.

Like a seedling, taken root in a planter, being transplanted to a new home.

The soil is not only dust, as the environment is not only fluid.

Lotus birthing proves that there are no ill effects of keeping it attached while not functioning.

What happens if the Wharton’s Jelly does not congeal as it does naturally with temperature change, the blood supply is not clamped off, and the exchanges continue?

The placenta is essentially an organ that belongs to the fetus.

The “amputation” happens spontaneously as a result of physiologic changes (the umbilical arteries constrict and clot, and Wharton’s jelly deteriorates whether or not the umbilical cord is clamped.

With no circulation from the fetus the cells in the placenta begin dying within a few minutes after birth, and this would happen whether or not it was possible to sustain the placenta ex utero in some kind of physiologic bath (not a likely scenario given the mechanical disruption of the maternal-fetal border).

Keeping the Wharton’s Jelly from getting cold, prevents it from congealing, as it is the same fluid in the vitreous humor of your eye.

The “clamping” I was referring to, was the natural physiological reaction that the Wharton’s Jelly accomplishes, when in a hostile environment.

Carefully transplanting the placenta, taking care not to damage the root structure, into a “circulated blood bath” is a rough simplification.

Thanks for your consideration. If you find any proof as to what would happen, please let me know.

I have been dismissed by a lot of people, who think it is too weird, or unbelievable.

Even researchers in the field admit they never considered the placenta not being amputated.

There seems to be an area of ignorance, concerning the placenta in general, that has led to infant cannibalism, and the use of human baby body parts in the manufacture of products.

Many think that another must have considered this before, yet none have provided any proof thereof.

Sure, the placenta might continue to function. But it’s not a simple mass of protoplasm. It’s a complex organ. That’s like asking if you could remove a lung and expect the lung to continue to function. We are able to do lung transplants, so we’re able to keep lungs alive for a short period of time when they’re not hooked up to the life support system supplied by the rest of the body. But could you hook the external lung up to the transplant patient and expect it to function?

For the placenta to provide oxygen and nutrients and to carry away waste products it has to be connected to an organism that can provide those things, that is, the mother. The placenta doesn’t have kidneys, the mother’s kidneys clean the urea dumped into the mother’s body through the placenta. Her red blood cells carry away the CO2 and provide the O2 for the baby. Her blood provides the nutrients that are carried through the placenta. Her blood provides the water.

Just plopping the placenta in a jar of constantly replenished Ringer’s Lactate won’t work, because the placenta isn’t passively absorbing nutrients from the environment, like a sponge. It’s a living organ, and it requires the support of the living organism it’s part of.

This isn’t even taking into account the problem that the placenta ages, and by the time the baby is ready to be born it’s already starting to die. But even if we’re talking about supporting premature babies it’s not that easy.

As a proper environment is provided in space, despite the differences, so too might an environment be provided for the placenta.

The baby’s placenta is a complex organ, as are those that comprise the other appendages of the body.

There is no intent here to maintain any part independently of the whole.

A potential is the placenta acting as primary respiration, nutrition, and waste removal. The lungs and other systems may be supplemental, or secondary.

Simple and easy are not words I have used to describe any of this.

I come to you all with something I believe is worth your time.

It might help if you provided some sort of reason as to why someone might want the placenta to continue to function after being removed from the uterus. What would be the goal? I tried to ascertain the goal in an earlier post (and please note I did not dismiss your question), but you did not confirm or deny my presumption. So the big picture remains a mystery. If your overall goal were made clear, you might get some ideas for other ways of achieving it.

If a newborn is sufficiently viable exutero, the placenta is unnecessary. What’s more, it is a hindrance to establishing an independent existence, and, being a squishy organ that is very very prone to bleeding, would be a huge liability to survival. If a fetus is not sufficiently viable exutero, you’re far better off keeping it in the uterus to further complete its development. Of course, all of this inherently intermeshes with other considerations, like the health of the mother, her rights to determine what happens to her own person, and so forth.

Where in all this does your placenta-cord (Wharton’s jelly still jellified)- fetus unit fit in? I’m genuinely curious.

While we’re at it, I’m also curious as to what you are referring to with “infant cannibalism” and the thing about using human body parts to manufacture products.