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Harvesting organs from dead bodies considered immoral, although it is essential
Organ transplant operations remain a very important problem for Russia to deal with. The problem is not only about medical complications of such operations. It is also about the attitude of the general public to the issue. Europe has a number of special programs, the goal of which is to explain the importance of donor organ transplant operations. The now-deceased Pope John Paul II approved and blessed transplantology as a perspective branch of modern medicine.
The system of postmortem donorship will become effective only when the society is prepared to accept it. In Russia, many people believe that harvesting human organs is a criminal business.
The idea to replace defunct human organs with new ones like spare parts appeared a long time ago. Successful transplant surgeries became possible only during the 20th century, when scientists learned to suppress recipient’s immune system to prevent the rejection of an alien organ. The human body rejects the transplanted organ if the latter was not taken from a genetically identical organism.
Scientists discovered the mechanisms of immune reactions and learned to suppress them to let a donor organ take roots in a new body. Nevertheless, the coercive suppression of the immune system remains one of the most serious problems of modern transplantology. A patient remains vulnerable to infections after surgery. In addition, the steroids that are used to suppress the functions of the human immune system, produce a whole bouquet of side effects.
Modern medicine has mastered the transplantation of skin, kidneys, liver, heart, intestines, lungs, pancreatic gland, bones, joints, veins, heart valves and cornea. The first-ever successful operation to transplant a human hand took place in 1998. One of the most ground-breaking recent achievements in transplantology was made in France in 2005, when surgeons made a face transplant operation to a female patient. Chinese surgeons succeeded in the transplantation of the penis in 2006. The United States is the world’s leader in transplantology. US surgeons make 52 kidney, 19 liver and 8 heart transplant operations per a million of citizens.