Scientists Harvest Organs From Aborted Babies to Use in Animal Research
National Sarah Zagorski Mar 5, 2015 | 12:10PM Washington, DC
In California, a biotech company called Ganogen Inc. is bragging about their new research breakthrough in a procedure that harvests the organs of aborted children and transplants them in animals, where they can grow and then be made available to patients.
On their website, the company calls the process Xenotransplantation and asks the question, “Would you accept an organ from a pig, cow, baboon or a chimpanzee to save your child’s life, or your own?”
The founder of Ganaogen Inc., Eugene Gu, said, “Our long-term goal is to grow human organs in animals, to end the human donor shortage.”
The researchers transplanted the fetal kidneys into adult rats that lacked an immune system (so as to avoid tissue rejection), and connected the animals’ blood vessels to the organs using a challenging procedure that involved tiny stitches, about three to four times smaller than the width of a human hair.One of the main reasons that previous attempts to transplant fetal organs into animals have failed is due to a difference in the blood pressure between human fetuses and adult animals. In most adult animals, including rats, the average blood pressure is about three times higher than it is in human fetuses. If a fetal organ is transplanted without adjusting the pressure, “the organ basically hemorrhages everywhere,” Gu said.To get around that problem, Gu’s team developed a device, called an arterial flow regulator, which they fitted around the rats’ blood vessels to decrease the pressure of the blood flowing into the fetal kidneys.About a month after the researchers transplanted the fetal kidneys into the rats, the scientists surgically removed the animals’ own kidneys. The rats that received the transplanted kidneys survived an average of four months after transplant, and one even survived for 10 months, Gu said. By comparison, a control group of rats that did not receive a transplanted kidney lived for only three to four days after having their kidneys removed, the researchers said.
Thankfully, some science organizations and publications are concerned about the ethical ramifications of using human organs of aborted babies to try and “save others.” Natural News, a health-science organization, said, that if the process proves to be successful on a larger scale, “it forebodes a future in which aborted human babies become a commercial commodity for companies to capitalize on artificial organ development.”
According to CBS News, Bioethicist Arthur Caplan from Langone Medical Center in New York also aired his concerns about the procedure. He said, “American society is morally uncomfortable enough about abortion that growing organs from fetal remains will never be accepted, and will be banned in state after state.”
However, Gu disagrees and says he doesn’t encourage abortions, but if the organs “are available, it is better to use them to save somebody’s life rather than throw them into the trash bin.”
Pro-life advocate and spokesperson for the American Life League, Jim Sedlak, called the transplant program “totally immoral” and “another outlandish use of aborted babies to produce results that humans think are good.” He said, “We are totally opposed to any use of aborted cells from human beings to grow organs or for any other purpose. Someone died in order for these organs to be grown.”
In a new video about the procedure, Ganogen Inc. promotes their findings and glosses over the fact that the organs come from aborted babies.