Although opponents of fetal tissue transplants have often conflated the two, tissue from family planning aboritons may be used without implying approval of abortions to produce tissue.
If fetal tissue transplants do occur, questions about the timing, substance, and process of consent must be addressed, as well as the role of nonprofit and for-profit agencies in retrieving and distributing fetal tissue.
The most immediate public policy question is whether these rules should be changed to prohibit experimental or therapeutic fetal tissue transplants, as the most extreme opponents urge.
Even persons opposed to abortion might agree that perceptions of complicity should not determine public policy on fetal tissue transplants.
If a majority agreed that fetuses should be respected as persons despite the burdens placed on pregnant women, such possible secondary benefits of induced abortion as fetal tissue transplants would not prevent a change in the legality of abortion.
In either case, the connection is too tenuous and speculative to ban organ or fetal tissue transplants.
In sum, fetal tissue transplants are practically and morally separate from decisions to end unwanted pregnancy.
In any case, the fear that fetal tissue transplants will lead to abortions performed solely to obtain tissue for transplant should not prevent use of tissue from abortions not performed for that purpose.
The Yale University School of Medicine has also performed clinical trials of fetal tissue transplants in their Neural Transplant Program.
9] Fetal tissue transplants from a single donor without the use of immunosuppression have not led to rejection although the use of multiple donor tissue has resulted in transient improvement and subsequent rejection.
Current research is focusing on methods to enhance the effects of fetal tissue transplants with nerve growth factors or genetically engineered cells before more clinical trials are undertaken.