Scientists Transplant Organs From Aborted Babies Into Rats for Future Harvest

Penny Starr | March 6, 2015 | 3:45pm EST
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Rats (AP Photo)

( – Live Science reported in January on research being done by scientists at Ganogen, Inc., a biotech company in California, that transplants organs from aborted babies into lab rats with the goal of growing them for use in patients who need organ transplants.

“Researchers say they have developed a new technique that will get more kidneys to people who need transplants, but the method is sure to be controversial: The research shows that it is feasible to remove a kidney from an aborted human fetus, and implant the organ into a rat, where the kidney can grow to a larger size,” the Jan. 21 article stated.

In the article, Eugene Gu, a medical student at Duke University and the founder and CEO of the company, said "Our long-term goal is to grow human organs in animals, to end the human donor shortage.”

Although ending the human donor shortage seems like a noble cause, using aborted babies to solve the problem is not acceptable, according to pro-life activist and former labor and delivery nurse Jill Stanek.

"This is horrific on so many levels,” Stanek told, calling it “abominable” to take organs from murdered pre-born babies to use in post-born humans.

“It is easy to see where this is heading: toward the day when human beings will be grown in the lab specifically for organ and tissue harvesting,” said Stanek, who has devoted herself to the pro-life cause after witnessing aborted babies who survived being left to die in the hospital where she worked.

Hank Greely, an ethical and legal expert on biomedical science at Stanford Law School, is quoted in the Live Science article as saying that the decision to have an abortion must not be linked to this kind of research.

"The key issues are the existence of the pregnant woman's consent and the total separation of the decision to abort from the decision to let the fetal remains be used in research," Greely told Live Science.

In other words, a woman must have already decided to have an abortion before she can be asked whether she is willing to donate the fetus for research, according to Live Science.

The article does not say where the research company obtained the aborted babies.

Its findings were published in the Jan. 22 edition of the American Journal of Transplantation.

The abstract of the article states: “Here we introduce a novel method of transplanting human fetal kidneys into adult rats. To overcome the technical challenges of fetal-to-adult organ transplantation, we devised an arterial flow regulator (AFR), consisting of a volume adjustable saline-filled cuff, which enables low-pressure human fetal kidneys to be transplanted into high-pressure adult rat hosts.

“By incrementally withdrawing saline from the AFR over time, blood flow entering the human fetal kidney was gradually increased until full blood flow was restored 30 days after transplantation. Human fetal kidneys were shown to dramatically increase in size and function. Moreover, rats which had all native renal mass removed 30 days after successful transplantation of the human fetal kidney were shown to have a mean survival time of 122 days compared to 3 days for control rats that underwent bilateral nephrectomy without a prior human fetal kidney transplant.”
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