After the biggest penis transplant ever, Johns Hopkins Hospital revealed this week that a veteran of the American Armed Forces has a new penis and scrotum. Does the transplant not include? Testicles — and in the recipient’s body, the testes will begin to make the donor’s sperm.
How is it transplanted?
When an improvised explosive device explosively blew, the New York Times notes that Johns Hopkins had not revealed its name, devastation to his penis, testicles, part of his lower abdominal tract, and his legs in Afghanistan. A team of 11 operatives replaces the damaged flesh of the genitals and lower abdomen with the decayed donor tissue at the end of March during a 14-hour surgery, and the patient is recovering well, according to a Monday news release.
But testicles were not included in the transplant — something that the Johns Hopkins team wanted to leave early, says Damon Cooney, professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department.
While Cooney was unable to address the situation because of his confidentiality, he said people usually want to use testosterone to substitute hormones and get testicular prostheses to restore appearance. Technically, Cooney notes, a testis transplant is feasible and allows recipients to refrain from hormone replacement therapy.
What are the problems?
The problem is, however, that the transplanted organ will contain the genetic descent of the donor. And this raises an ethical complication that Johns Hopkins tried to prevent from the start without the deceased donor’s consent.
It helps to know a little about the plumbing of the testes to understand how that is possible. The germ cells – which are essentially cell grandparents or great-grandparents of sperm – migrated to the newborn gonads at the start of an embryo’s development. These germ cells divide into stem cells, which can create more and more of the cells that make sperm through various divisions.
Therefore, taking his testes would have been particularly appalling without the donor’s permission throughout his life, Kahn said. He said without understanding them; they made this dead man a donor of sperm so that they could not agree to it. It’s not just a feature restore—sex and urinary — you have given a person reproductive capacity, but you can do it with another person. You can cross a line.