What potential problems can you see with the technique of transplanting organs from other species into humans?What potential problems can you see with the technique of transplanting organs from...

What potential problems can you see with the technique of transplanting organs from other species into humans?

What potential problems can you see with the technique of transplanting organs from other species into humans?

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main issue I can see would be functionality.  An organ is not tissue that can function in every living species, so we have to assume, until proven otherwise, that cross-species transplants are risky at best.

Some of the original heart transplants were done wth baboon hearts, and while they prolonged the life of the patient, it was only for the short term, and was more a research-based experiment than a serious attempt at long term organ viability.

There are also ethical issues, as transplants with human tissue are much more likely to be successful, so by what means do we determine who is eligible for the human organ transplant and who will receive the animal organ?  Would the fact that these organs are available for transplant cause less people to be organ donors?  Just a few issues to consider.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As previously indicated, incompatibility would be the primary issue behind organ transplants from other animals into humans.  If organs are not compatible with being able to work for humans, then like any incompatible transplant, it is not very effective.  In the final analysis, I am not certain that there is an argument in my mind that indicates other organisms' organs are "inferior" than the human organ, but the issue of compatibility and feasibility is most critical. If any individual were in a situation where a transplant was needed, whether or not the organ was compatible with the individual's system is the most important and most pressing element.  To be denied this is critical, which is why I would see this issue as the most present with any transplant.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One wonders if animals would be harvested for their organs if they become easily transplanted.  After all, the black market contains many small parts taken from exotic animals for medicinal and other profitable reasons.  At some time, was there not a news story about a man who had his heart repaired and part of his heart was replaced with a pig's heart?

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Rejection would be a big problem. Not everybody is likely going to be able to accept the new organ, especially if it is not human. Even if humans are compatible with the species, like a pig organ, sometimes our bodies have their own ideas and reject it.
giorgiana1976 | Student

Besides the problem of compatibility between species there is  still the moral problem of using living beings as sources of organs supply .

krishna-agrawala | Student

I see two main problems in transplanting organs from other species in to humans. These are problems of compatibility and acceptability. Organs of other species are most likely have different construction and way of functioning from the corresponding human organs. Such organs will not be compatible with the overall human physiology and therefore will not function the way they are required to function in a human body.

Acceptability refers to the fact that human body tends to reject as foreign matter any organ that does not match some body characteristics. The simplest example of such matching is the blood group. There are many other similar characteristics that may need to be matched for transplanted organs to be accepted. The chances that animal organs will be accepted by human body are much less as compared to human organs. As a matter of fact even human organs are not always accepted by the recipients of the transplant and they have to be on life long medication to prevent rejection of donated organs.

Because for these reasons trans plant of most of the animal organs is not possible. However some limited amount of animal organ transplant is already being practiced, For example, heart valves of pigs have been transplanted in human body.

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