Organ Transplantation Coordinators' View on the “IdentityProblem” of the Recipient after Xenotransplantation in Korea


  • Hyojung Mo
  • Ivo Kwon


Xenotransplantation is considered as one of the most promising surgical innovations that could solve the current shortage of human organs for transplantation. But the possibility of xeno- transplantation raised several ethical issues including identity loss or psychological crisis. We asked questions about the possibility of identity problems after xenotransplantation to a group of Organ Transplantation Coordinators (OTCs) working actively in major organ transplantation institutions in February, 2007 in Korea.

Most OTCs thought that the most common complaint of the recipients was medical and surgical complications related to the transplantation. Economic problem is one of the main issues in Korea because Korean national insurance system does not fully cover the whole medical cost necessary for organ transplanta- tion and the patients themselves have to pay large portion of the cost.

For the responses or attitudes from the family members and friends, most OTCs thought that there would be no clear difference before and after the surgery. But they agreed that xenotransplantation would bring more serious problems than allotransplantation would for this issue. But, most important factor is the opportunity of saving life not the possibility of identity or psychological problem. The OTCs think that the recipients would prefer human organs to animal organs if the former is available. This is partly due to unresolved uncert- ainties or potential risks associated with xenotrans-plantation.

In conclusion, most OTCs in Korea donor concern much about the identity or psychological problems of the recipients after xenotransplantation. The issue of identity problem seems to be a trivial issue for this“to be or not to be”situation.

Author Biographies

Hyojung Mo

Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea

Ivo Kwon

MD., Ph., D., College of Law, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea






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