And how did it benefit the anencephalic infant
to have another couple of months of life in utero, and then five hours of life outside?
The mother was at increased risk of premature delivery because she had given birth to an anencephalic infant
a year earlier.
The board clarified modifications on the 1989 position paper on The Anencephalic Infant
as an Organ Source: Medical and Ethical Considerations by adding:
Possible mechanisms for increasing the supply of organs being explored include animal kidneys, anencephalic infant
organs, and estate tax credits for organ donations.
For example, ethics committee members who conclude that it is ethical to donate the organs of an anencephalic infant
to patients in need of them must be reminded that current legal definitions of "brain death" do not include anencepahlic infants, and that the possibility of organ transplantation is therefore precluded.
Removal of organs would not seem to violate any interests of the anencephalic infant
, whose imminent death is certain and who presumably is incapable of experiencing pain or discomfort.
Whether or not an anencephalic infant
, or even a normal infant, is "conscious" or capable of "suffering" is a philosophical question that is empirically unanswerable, if by these terms one means a subjective self-awareness associated with the respective behavioral reaction to environmental stimuli.
Theoretically, a single anencephalic infant
with healthy thoracic and abdominal organs could supply vital organs to save the lives of two other infants (one needing a heart and another a liver) and enhance the lives of several others (who need kidneys, corneas, and various transplantable tissues.
Third, although the anencephalic infant
is certainly doomed, if we wait for its expiration under presently accepted guidelines, the potentially life-saving organs will deteriorate and cease to be transplantable.
7] The anencephalic infant
is viewed as a nonperson at best, subhuman at worst.
Medical ethics, law, and other medical specialists from North America, Europe, Iran, and Australia examine the dead donor rule, the determination of death, and organ transplantation from cadavers, with discussion of brain death and circulatory death; the use of anencephalic infants
as organ donors; the sale of cadaveric or live organs; other strategies for increasing the number of available organs, such as presumed consent in organ donation, priority allocation to previously registered donors, the use of prisoners as sources of organs, and kidney paired donation; and the ethics of gaming the system, such as through transplant tourism.
Teresi describes other populations of patients who could be potential organ donors: anencephalic infants
and patients in persistent vegetative states (PVS).