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The Ethics of Xenotransplantation

by Expert Prof. Helen | 10 Oct 2017

Technology has come up with a lot of advances and further development in the lives of humans. Continued efforts of scientists, engineers and other professionals to design and develop tools to address the specific needs of people brought numerous recognitions from those who benefitted on their study. Though research and development, they came up with the realization of ideas and made what was impossible a few years ago. As a result many problems were resolved because of these inventions and ingenuities that humans established.

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A concrete example of such human ingenuity is the process of xenotransplantation that is now one of the current issues that brought a lot of controversy in the field of medicine and ethical standards. Many articles were written about this emerging approach in surgical procedure on humans. Xenotransplantation refers to the usage of a certain organ or any part of an animal kind to be transferred to a human being. Advocates of this principle stated the big potential of using this approach to provide treatment for those patients suffering from illnesses primarily caused by the organ dysfunction of the concerned patient. They claim that using the animal as the donor for the needed organ of the patient will answer the problem of availability of the human donor since all the organs will not necessarily be coming from a person. Another problem that will be resolved in adapting the system is the high costs of acquiring such organs. On the other hand, xenotransplantation also caused a lot of controversy in many issues concerned. A clear argument that is being thrown to this surgical approach is that humans should not be transplant any organ that will come form any type of animal as its donor. It would be next to impossible for any patient to agree that this approach will be applied to him/her. Nobody would accept the reality of replacing his/her organ with an organ coming form an animal.

Another argument throwing against xenotransplantation is on the side of religious people concerned with the sanctity of human body. They believed that a human body should be without any association with any kind animal parts which will be used in replacing the malfunctioned human organs of the patient. Moreover, many surgeons also disagree with the process of using animal organs to replace what is that on human internal structure. Many doctors still believe that the sole donor of a human patient is nothing else but a human also.

They warn people of potential problems it might bring when this approach was finally implemented. They cautioned the people not to even attempt to undergo such procedures since could brought more problems rather than solutions.

Another current problem this surgical principle is facing is the fact that up to now, only a few operations with xenotransplantation was proved to be successful. There was no clear indication that it was conducted many times and each attempts achieved better results. While the advocates of this principle admitted that more studies should still be made, there are already hindrances for the implementation of that approach. One particular reason is the possible transmission of disease should the animal donor possesses an infection that was not detected during the screening procedures by the medical surgeons. Another hindrance is the establishment compatibility checking techniques of the said organs before doing the surgery process.

Many people do not conform to the fact that animal to human organ transplant should ever be given a try in a specific surgical procedure. It is true that people should always look for possibilities to resolve things that are facing the humanity which is the disease or any physical impairment but this should be based on moral standards and customs. Any new procedure or approach that involves human life needs in depth study and tests to prove its worth. After this strenuous methods, a new principle like xenotransplantation process maybe accepted by the people as an advancement in the field of surgical technology.

References

  • Veatch, R.( 2000), "The Ethics of Xenotransplantation" Georgetown University Press,Washington D.C.
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