Human Organs in Pigs…

When the idea that human organs could possibly be grown in pig bodies for medical purposes, my immediate reaction was sympathy for the pigs! However, I soon began to think of the many possible benefits of having organs genetically grown in pigs.


According to U. S Department of Health and Human Services, over 119,000 men, women, and children are on the national transplant waiting list, another person is added to the waiting list every ten minutes, and 22 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant; the waiting list for an organ donation continues to grow. These statistics brought an issue to light: many lives had the potential to be saved, but lack of an available organ donor has put the number to a small minimum. Thus, KQED presented a possibility: live pigs could be used as the incubator for human organs.

Scientists have studied that it is possible to grow human organs inside a sow by using CRISPR gene editing (a gene that removes the gene specific to growing a pig embryo) and injecting human stem cells into a pig embryo. If successful, organs could be used for harvest and the wait list numbers would greatly decrease.

Although this study could potentially save many lives, growing organs raises many ethical issues. Some that concern me are: How accessible would the organs be and to who? (expense wise) Could pig’s possible develop human traits and intelligence? How could this potentially affect those who live a vegan lifestyle or avoid pigs for religious reasons?

Overall, I think this is a very interesting study that could possibly change the lives the population in need of an organ transplant! However, more studies need to be conducted before these methods are used.

Click here to learn more about growing human organs in pigs!




6 thoughts on “Human Organs in Pigs…

  1. Anthony Branzuela

    Hi Alexa,
    Great article.

    I hope one day the researchers do find solutions for saving lives by increasing the supply of donor organs.

    The biggest hurdle about transplanting an animal/human raised organ is weather or not the human body will accept the foreign organ.

    If the researchers are successful, I believe organ donor recipients would opt to live another day with an animal raised organ than to die without one.!


  2. Niya Santana

    Wow! I had no idea that human organs could be grown in pigs. There are so many people in the world that needs transplants and this offers a solid solution but also raises lots of ethical questions. Personally I do not know where I stand but this really is interesting.


  3. Kat Sanchez

    I really enjoyed reading this, I had no idea about pig organs being a possible way to produce more organs for those in need. What would you say your stance is on this issue? I could see where it could question morality but also could be a breakthrough.


  4. Mike Branzuela

    Who would have ever thought it would be possible to place a pig organ into a person.

    I especially like how you thought of the future of this technology with respect to stem cells and the creation of new human organs.

    Calling out the ethical perspective is crucial as it places the core discussion on whether or not society should embrace such controversial technology.


  5. Sarah Fazio20

    Hi Alexa, I find your article about the use of pig organs in humans very informative. I agree that there should be more research about this new topic before it is fully implemented. The ethics that are involved most in this are justice and autonomy. First, you mention that it is important to consider the availability of this new method to everyone. I agree on this. I also think that if it becomes more mainstream it will be more available to people. Could there possibly be a trial of this method with volunteers to help speed up the research process? Next, you explain how the autonomy ethic applies here. You raise a question about vegans and those who do not eat pork for religious reasons. What would be their opinion? A question I have for that is what would a doctor do if, for example, a vegan needed a life-saving organ transplant but the only organ available was from a pig? Your article gave me a new point of view on the issue and was well written. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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