LONDON – Christians and conservatives in the United Kingdom have reacted in horror to a suggestion by an Oxford professor, who said that the organs of aborted fetuses should be used in organ transplants for the seriously ill.
Sir Richard Gardner, a stem cell expert from Oxford University, said that using the organs of fetuses was a realistic way of solving the problem of a shortage of freely given organs. He also said that experiments on mice had shown that fetal kidneys grew very quickly when transplanted into adults.
"It is probably a more realistic technique in dealing with the shortage of kidney donors than others," Gardner said of his proposal, according to The Daily Mail.
Using aborted fetuses "is something that could be done but it's not something that's talked about much," he added. "It is at least a temporary solution."
Christian groups have opposed the idea, however, describing it as immoral.
Dr. Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship argued that unborn children deserved "protection, respect, wonder and empathy."
Josephine Quintavalle from Comment On Reproductive Ethics (CORE), meanwhile, was quoted by The Daily Mail as saying, "At what stage do you say to the woman who is to have an abortion, 'Can we have some organs for transplant?'"
She described the idea itself as "absolutely horrifying."
Currently there are 8,000 people in the United Kingdom waiting for organ donations, around 7,000 of which are waiting for kidneys. People waiting for kidneys have only a one in three chance of receiving a kidney during the year and hundreds are dying every year because of the shortage.