Severely deformed babies facing certain death should not be routinely considered as organ donors, even though hundreds of children desperately need new hearts and livers, the national transplant network said.
Directors of the United Network for Organ Sharing adopted a policy last week discouraging, at least for now, use of anencephalic infants as organ donors. The board noted, however, that “it is unwise to recommend a moratorium.”
The issue of whether to take organs from anencephalic infants--babies born without most of their brains--has troubled experts for some time, but some say it is the only way to save other dying babies and children for whom there are few organs.
“We’re certainly not going to take organs from a live person, but in our hearts and in our minds we know these people are not alive,” said Brian Broznick, director of the Pittsburgh Transplant Foundation and a proponent of anencephalic donors.