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Xenografting: ethical issues.
  1. J Hughes
  1. Department of Government, University of Manchester.


    This paper considers the ethical issues raised by xenotransplantation under four headings: interfering with nature; effects on the recipient; effects on other humans; and effects on donor animals. The first two issues raise no insuperable problems: charges of unnaturalness are misguided, and the risks that xenotransplantation carries for the recipient are a matter for properly informed consent. The other two issues raise more serious problems, however, and it is argued that if we take seriously the risk of transferring new infectious agents from animal to human populations and the interests of donor animals, then a moratorium on xenotransplantation is called for. The paper finds that the recent Nuffield Council and Department of Health reports on xenotransplantation are insufficiently cautious in the conclusions that they draw from these considerations.

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