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The Animal In Us Essay

1102 words - 5 pages

In recent years, advances in biotechnology have been a huge topic of interest and research. Along with these advances come the questions of how each product should be used and how beneficial to humanity it will be. One of the current research projects is xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting animal organs into humans through surgical processes. Xenotransplantation is not only for organ transplants but also but other diseases such as diabetes. Xenotransplantation is needed because of the sheer amount of organ replacements humans demand compared to the amount of donated organs being supplied. It's an advantage because of the amount of people who die every day just waiting for an ...view middle of the document...

The demand of transplants greatly exceeds the amount of human suppliers as shown in the following chart.
The discrepancy between the number of people waiting and the number of organs that become available is increasing by 10 to 15% annually (Cooper Figure 2.1. 8). The number of organs actually transplanted remains consistent throughout the years 1989-1998, whereas the amount of people waiting for an organ transplant steadily rose between the same years. This imbalance results in several deaths of patients waiting for a transplant of any kind to save their life; thus resulting in the in-depth study to xenotransplantation because not only do researchers want to minimize the amount of deaths occurring every day because of the lack of donors, but they also want to find the best possible genetically-matched solution to humans as to minimize complications.
Some people argue that xenotransplantation wouldn't be necessary if there were more human donors but not enough people tell doctors or researchers that they wish to donate their organs after death. Furthermore, even if the doctors, organizations, and researchers' attempts to close the continually widening donor to recipient gap were successful, the "supply would still be insufficient to meet the rapidly increasing demand" (Cooper 13) because the majority of the organs donated would be unsuitable for transplantation due to cancer, infections, diseases, excessive damage, or other factors. This is another reason why xenotransplantation is being researched thoroughly. The shortage of supply can be measured not only by the amount of patients who die waiting for transplants, but also in the emotional costs to the families and the "economic costs to the wider community" (NHMRC 4).
This increase in demand and decrease in supply meant that doctors and researchers needed to find some way of getting the patients the organs they needed from another source. One possibility for heart transplants was the artificial heart or assisting device. However, the amount of devices being made in ratio to the amount that actually work consistently and accurately is very small. In addition, other critical organs, such as lungs and livers, are in "extremely early stages of development" (Cooper 20) and although these devices are being continuously worked on and improved upon, the amount of patients waiting for a transplant never...

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