Baby Ban for Animal Organ-Swop Patients

Daily Mail (London), October 25, 1999 | Go to article overview

Baby Ban for Animal Organ-Swop Patients


Byline: ADAM POWELL

PATIENTS who receive animal organ transplants could be asked to sign a pledge not to have children, it emerged last night.

They may also have to agree to their sexual partners being registered and monitored by medical authorities.

The guidelines, produced by an 'ethics committee' set up by the Government on animal-human transplants, are aimed at ensuring that pig viruses do not spread to the population.

The technology for such operations exists but there is currently a ban on clinical trials because of the dangers of crossover diseases and also due to a lack of public confidence.

A herd of modified pigs containing human genes has been bred in the UK by a Cambridge-based company, Imutran, which has the technology to transplant a pig's heart into a human.

Doctors in the U.S. have already successfully put pig cells into a 39-year-old woman but there has been concern about the physical and moral implications of so-called xeno-transplantation.

In Britain, the Xeno-Transplanta-

tion Interim Regulatory Authority was set up to look at the dangers posed by such technology and how to combat them.

The suggested contracts could require patients about to receive pigs' hearts or lungs to agree to 'use barrier contraception consistently and for life' and never to donate blood.

Health monitoring teams could be called in to check 'household members and other sexual partners and others whom the recipients may engage in activities with in which bodily fluids may be exchanged'. …

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