Xenotransplantation Blends Human and Animals Together

Xenotransplantation is defined as the transplantation, implantation or infusion of non human animal organs or tissue into a human host. Xenotransplantation is a byproduct of the medical fields need for viable organs to use in transplant procedures. Since there is such a shortage of human donors medical science has started experimenting with procedures that involve animal tissue. While most people might find this a little too morbid and have images of “the island of doctor Moreau” flashing through their brains, the idea has merit and is very prevalent among the medical and scientific community.

Xenotransplantation may not be a very popular idea to many people, but for those whose lives have been saved by procedures involving animal transplantation most people would agree that they have no complaint. The early days of xenotransplantation involved experiments with pigs, goats, lambs and monkeys but the body of those experimented on lasted weeks at best. Scientists have always had a problem with the body accepting animal parts. In recent years there have been huge advances in medicine that make it more likely that a body will accept the animal tissue. The other part of using animal parts is the concern of infections. The idea that people can contract a virus as a direct result of using animal parts in transplant experiments also suggests that these diseases could somehow infect the rest of the populace is of major concern to the scientific community. There are some that believe xenotransplantation was the cause of AIDS spreading through the human race. 

Xenotransplantation also has other ethical dilemmas involved with it becoming more widespread. Many debates have raged on the element of using animal parts in human transplants. Various people have put forth the idea that by using animals in this manner mixes the physical genes and thereby mixes or creates a new life. The moral issue of course boils down to this; should scientists be playing with this knowledge? On one hand people’s lives are being saved, and on the other hand animals must be sacrificed for these procedures to work. Whichever side of the fence one sits the facts cannot be denied, xenotranplantation works.

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