By Eric Best
Xenotransplantation is a method used in the medical society to counter the growing lack of human organ donations. Instead of human cells or body parts, those of animals are used for patients in need of a replacement. The process is identical to that of a normal transplant, however, animal material is used. The benefits of xenotransplantation are present, which reduce the pressure on people to donate their bodies after death, but they do not outweigh the immense costs.
The use of xenotransplantation creates many health risks to both humans and animals alike. When preparing for an animal-to-human transplant, the specimen must be screened to ensure that it is disease free. Unfortunately, it is physically impossible to screen for all of the potential illnesses an animal donor could be carrying. On top of this, there is the potential that diseases the medical society that have not yet been discovered could be present within the specimen to be used in the transplant, which are impossible to screen for. The combination of cells and genetics within the human body is also risky, because the outcomes could result in the fabrication of a new disease or illness. The ultimate worry for this scenario is that a new, transmittable illness is created and spread to other humans, causing a pandemic with no known cure. The health issues associated with xenotransplantation do not outweigh what it would cost to use it.
The procedure of xenotransplantation is currently more expensive than regular, human-to-human transplants. Each operation costs approximately 300,000 dollars, and that does not include funding the requirements prior to the surgery, such as breading viable animals and screening procedures. Vast quantities of money must be spent to facilitate a germ-free environment where animals can be bread to maximum health to ensure the success of the operation. The same preparation is not required to...