Organ Transplants from Transgenic Pigs

Question:

An Israeli surgeon intends to conduct organ transplants using transgenic pigs within a year. What, if any, are the halachic implic- ations?

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Answer:

The only halachic prohibition regarding pig-derived products is against eating them and, under certain circumstances, conducting business with them. However, it is permissible to use pig-derived products for making shoes and clothing, and in the pharmaceutical industry.

As long as transgenic pigs are created for medical purposes only, there is no halachic prohibition against performing organ transplants from them.

It is important to emphasize that whenever there is a danger to life, even the prohibition against eating pig products is set aside.

 

- Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, M.D.

Source: ASSIA Jewish Medical Ethics,
Vol. IV, No. 1, February 2001, p. 60