Xenotransplantation : A Risk Worth Taking? Essay

1158 Words Jan 16th, 2016 null Page
Xenotransplantation: A Risk Worth Taking?
What transpired in October 1984 was something akin to a scene in a science fiction novel: the first ever infant was transplanted with a baboon heart. The baby came to be known as Baby Fae, and because of a rare heart condition—and lack of money thereof—the mother gave a green light in having the transplantation of a baboon heart performed. But unlike science fiction novels, the procedure, called xenotransplantation—which involves transplanting nonhuman cells, tissues or organs into humans—did not succeed entirely. Baby Fae died in twenty one days, rejecting the organ she was transplanted with (Pence, 2008).
Xenotransplantation is a murky subject, in which it has great potential to save lives, as well as to claim them. The aforementioned event is a prime example in shedding light on the controversies surrounding the procedure. It shows us the questionable compatibility of organs between different species, but, also proves it as a solution to the shortage of human organs and that those in dire need, like Baby Fae, may have a chance after all. What this event does not exhibit is the concern of diseases crossing over from one species to another; from transplanted organ, to patient, to society. It is countered by the fact that there is no conclusive evidence stating otherwise, and that the organs themselves can be altered and some distinct measures can be made to prevent a possible outbreak.
The major barrier to the success of…

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