• A
  • |
  • A
  • Text size

Opinion 2.162 - Anencephalic Neonates as Organ Donors

Anencephaly is a congenital absence of major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp. Anencephalic neonates are thought to be unique from other brain-damaged beings because of a lack of past consciousness with no potential for future consciousness.

Physicians may provide anencephalic neonates with ventilator assistance and other medical therapies that are necessary to sustain organ perfusion and viability until such time as a determination of death can be made in accordance with accepted medical standards, relevant law, and regional organ procurement organization policy. Retrieval and transplantation of the organs of anencephalic infants are ethically permissible only after such determination of death is made, and only in accordance with the Council’s guidelines for transplantation. (I, III, V)

Issued March 1992 based on the report "Anencephalic Infants as Organ Donors," adopted December 1988; Updated June 1994; Updated December 1994 based on the report "The Use of Anencephalic Neonates as Organ Donors," adopted December 1994; and updated June 1996 based on the report "Anencephalic Infants as Organ Donors - Reconsideration," adopted December 1995.