Fetal Donation: Medical Perspective

Health professionals are continuously working to provide best and affordable medical service to the society. Medical science has evolved rapidly in the recent past due to, involvement of technology and newer methods of treatment and instrumentation. This has further helped in making health care more affordable and better.

The integration of technology and medical science has helped health care in multiple ways and surely has made deep impact in improving patient care.

One of the key elements, in this pursuit to give better solutions to various health problems, is the human material to be used for the purposes of research, trials and training.

Before any treatment modality reaches for actual use, it is subjected to multiple trials at multiple levels. New instruments, new methods of surgeries have to be practiced by doctors for actual feel of the methodology. But as a human being can’t be subjected to such a procedure, dead bodies are the material for such experimentation.

Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti is one such organization that has been working in the society with great success in this direction by educating and sensitizing the members of our society about the need of such bodies and how we can come forward in this direction and pledge for body donation.

Another area to explore and extend this endeavor is Fetal donation, where an unborn fetus/ dead fetus can be donated to the medical researchers for the following reasons:

  • The fetuses, which are unable to continue the whole duration of pregnancy are subjected to investigations using latest techniques and instrument like high quality microscopes loaded with advanced software, to find the cause of such an event and so that  necessary precautions can be taken in the future pregnancies and the parents of such pregnancies can be counseled accordingly.
  • These fetuses are also used by researcher to understand the development patterns of various organ systems of the human body, which goes a long way in understanding the development and functioning of a particular organ.
  • The fetal products like cells of Wharton's jelly , the main component of umbilical cord, gives rise to different cell types of both connective and nervous tissue. These cells have properties to develop into different organs if grown in the specialized laboratories. These cells are being used for treatment of various old age related  diseases and where there is a complete loss of an organ or a tissue.

Experiments will continue and shall be continued to be done to try to improve the technology and possibilities of improving the health care. For example, research is being done regarding human cell cultures, transplants from human fetuses, including brain tissue, and from animals to human beings. Attempts to genetically design animals with organs which will be less likely to be rejected by human beings.  Dead human fetuses, which otherwise are discarded can be of immense value for the benefit of the mankind in terms of length and quality of life.
Fetal donation, carried out under socially and legally accepted conditions, is a beautiful and modern expression of charity to give dignity to the one who in death will become life-support for another directly or indirectly. Such parents can hold their head high and feel the pride of serving the humanity in their moments of despair.

Dr Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy
Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi
E mail: mamcanatomy@gmail.com