Is Xenotransplantation an ethical solution or disaster? The audience for this paper is comprised of those readers looking to gain knowledge on the issue of. This group of people is unaware of the dynamics of the ethical arguments surrounding this current issue. This audience does not have a specific age or belief, reflecting the varied positions of the argument. Due to this hunger for factual information, they do not wish to have someone else's views imposed on them. Instead, they wish to define and establish a view of their own. Ethical debates frequently occur today because of advances in society, technology, science, and many other areas.
These arguments are comprised of many people due to the diversity of their interpretations of ethics in these areas. Ethics can be defined as "a system of moral, scruples, principles or values that in itself defines what is right or good behavior" (Shankarkumar, 317). The issue involving, the sharing of organs between different species, has become a controversial subject with disagreements focusing on the ethical perspectives of the surgery. In order to comprehend the numerous ethical arguments surrounding, the following three parties must be viewed: physicians, both for and against the surgery, and society. Xenotransplantation is defined as "transplanting cells, tissues or whole organs from one species into another" (Baker, 643). These transplantation's involve organs such as the heart, kidneys, and many others.
Today, pigs have quickly become the donor species due to their anatomical and economical advantages. Pigs grow and reproduce very rapidly, creating a large litter, increasing the number of subjects for donation. Also, their organs and blood vessels are similar in size to those of humans, making their use more practical than that of an anatomically larger species (Baker, 643). The concept of has been attempted many times throughout history. In 1682, doctors repaired the skull of an injured Russian nobleman using bone from the skull of a dog. The patient died soon after the surgery due to the unsanitary conditions of the procedure (Shankarkumar, 318).
Next, in 1905, a French surgeon transplanted pieces of a rabbit's kidney into a sixteen year old boy. The reason for this surgery being the boy was suffering from the final stage of kidney failure. He died two 1 weeks after the surgery had taken place (Shankarkumar, 318). The first attempts of in the U. S. did not occur until the 1960's.
During this time, scientists tried to transplant baboon and chimpanzee organs to humans. These transplants failed due to rejection by the human immune system (Baker, 643). The most well known attempt, known as Baby Fae, occurred in 1985 at the Coma Linda University Medical Center in California. During this surgery, Dr. Leonard Bailey completed the first human neonatal cardiac by placing the heart of a baboon into an infant. Fae, the infant, suffered from hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, or simply an incomplete heart.
The heart functioned for twenty days until stopping, killing Baby Fae (Clark, 1085). This attempt raised difficult ethical and policy issues, which have not yet been answered. Recently, the low numbers of human donor organs and short term mechanical "organ" replacements have given cause for research on animal sources. For example, scientists at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center have attempted to graft baboon bone marrow into an AIDS patient.
Also, testing of pig fetal tissue transplants is now underway for the use of treating Parkinson's disease (Baker, 643). In the last 25 years, each case of performed has failed. Overcoming the human immune system rejection is the most difficult complication of. "The success of may ultimately depend upon the ability to induce long-term tolerance to foreign tissue antigens" (Trzepac, Di Martini, 292). Guidelines, created by the Federal Government, which govern, make it unaffordable for small laboratories to complete research and further advance new 2 development of the surgery (Baker, 643). Many physicians today feel is not a rational solution for patients in need of organ and tissue transplants.
Their views are centered around the welfare of the patient. According to these physicians, there are many unknowns regarding the procedure's after-effects, meaning it is not completely predictable. There is little research on how infectious agents in animals will affect humans, or a way of understanding the psychological effect on the patients and their effects on and of society. Physicians against this surgery feel there is a great risk of disease and harm to the patient. Rejections of engrafts, tissues and organs from animals, is usually much quicker and more violent than rejections of, tissues and organs from humans (Clark, 1082). Also, infection stands to be the greatest risk of.
Diseased animals could possibly spread infectious organisms to humans through surgery, leading to zoonoses, cross-species diseases (Clark, 1088). Today, many antibiotics are less effective against diseases due to mutant resistant strains of these infectious organisms (Ferzli, 2001). Infections can also spread through sexual activity involving a patient of. In this case, precautions need to be taken to make sure no bodily fluids are transmitted (Clark, 1098).
This and constant medical attention, involving tests and treatment, create the necessity of lifetime monitoring of the patients. Another unknown of is the psychological issues, which the patients might endure. Having an animal as part of oneself may induce emotions no one can understand. There is also a very high possibility of depression and other emotional complications to the patient. 3 One of the most pertinent indefinite aspects of the surgery is the effect of the patient on and of society. With the possibility of the transplant recipient spreading disease to the public, some physicians feel it is not ethical for one person to affect the human population (Ferzli, 2001).
This could lead to an epidemic, with diseases like AIDS, having been traced to animal origin (Shankarkumar, 314), serving as support. On the other hand, society's effects on the recipients may not be predictable. If the procedure is not morally accepted, than the recipients may not be morally accepted, further damaging them psychologically. According to this group of physicians, the legal aspects of the surgery involve ethical concern. In the case of liability, very few doctors would want to be held liable for patients undergoing, due to the possibility of infection and widespread public harm; in other words, taking responsibility for the unknown.
Also, the patients must agree to the risks and life long repercussions of the surgery. This is a very difficult decision to make, given the incomplete knowledge of the surgery's effects. Confidentiality and privacy protections would be necessary to assure the dignity of the patients (De Long, 97). In general, these physicians feel there are too many unidentified aspects of the surgery, to make it pragmatic. Much of today's society is against the application of.
One of the prevalent concerns is that is unnatural. This part of society feels the surgery transgresses the laws of nature, by tampering with the order of the natural world (Beauchamp, 5). According to the Church of Scotland, "there is clearly something artificial about putting a pig's heart into a man or woman" (Society, Religion & 4 Technology Project, 2004). This faction of society also feels that the surgery alters our definition of a human being. Some organs contribute to a "special place" in human identity. For example, the heart is seen by some to be the premiere symbol of human life and too vital to be replaced with an animal's heart (Society, Religion & Technology Project, 2004).
The value of human life may also be lowered, due to the intermingling of human life and animal life. The value of organs is also lowered from originally being seen as a "gift of life," to being replaced with that of an animal. In some cases, is religiously prohibited by some in today's society. The "intermingling of distinct plant or animal kinds by cross breeding is specifically forbidden in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) " inducing "human intervention into nature or to God's created order" (Society, Religion & Technology Project, 2004).
Some also feel the idea is repulsive and demonstrates pollution of the body. This attitude demonstrates the judgments on the recipients by society. However, there are groups of people today that support the use of. Many of the persons in this group are scientists and physicians, including the surgeons themselves. Since this surgery is being driven by a shortage of human organ donors, they feel is extremely valuable.
"47, 000 patients are on the national registry for organs... Half are expected to die before a suitable organ can be found" (Baker, 643) and an estimated "45, 000 Americans under 65 could benefit from a heart transplant, but only 2, 000 get them annually" (Clark, 1073). The physicians supporting feel the unlimited supply of organs from 5 animals serves as a practical solution to the stated problems. These supporters of the surgery do not feel that is unnatural. According to Pascal Ferzli, "nothing that humans do is unnatural, since humans are themselves a part of nature." Also, any foreign organ implants into a patient will not be passed on to their offspring, because of human genetics. These organ transplants are not permanent and can be removed or replaced at any time.
According to these physicians, some species are genetically similar to humans (Ferzli, 2001). It has been scientifically discovered that much of the DNA between mammals is common. This means, that because of the genetic similarities in the make up of our organs, and that of another mammal, such as a pig, is much more practical. Therefore, it is not far from the human transplants that are being used in today's medicine. Concerning the risk involved in the surgery, this group of physicians have the view that the choice belongs to the individual patient. They feel it is the patients prerogative to desire the surgery, and not society's or anyone else's.
Also, physicians supporting point to the use of immunosuppressive drugs, steroids and Interferon, for making the grafts less likely to be rejected by the immune system, therefore minimizing the risk of harm (Clark, 1083). The differing ethics, morals, and opinions of these parties regarding has made this a very controversial issue. The need for transplant able organs keeps fueling the fire of the debates over the surgery. Today, the ethical motives of the parties are being used to try and reach a decision, concerning the use of 6, and whether it is a pragmatic solution or simply too dangerous and impractical. 7 Works Cited Baker, Beth.
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1 (1999): 5. Clark, Margaret A. "This Little Piggy Went To Market: The Xenotransplantation and Xenozoonose Debate." Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 27. 2 (1999): 1073- 1105. De Long, William R. Organ Transplantation in Religious, Ethical and Social Context: No Room for Death.
Binghamton, N. Y: The Haworth Press Inc. 1993. Ferzli, Pascal. (2001, February). "The Ethics of Xenotransplantation." The Ethical Spectacle.
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(2004). "The Ethics of Xenotransplantation." Church of Scotland. web Trzepacz, Paula T. , Di Martini, Andrea F.
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