Lilyanna Hodson / Staff reporter 


Heart transplant was performed on infant Stephanie Fae BeauCalirand was the first Xenotransplant procedure – where heart of baboon was used. BeauClair was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and had a baboon heart transplant performed by Dr. Leonardo Bailey. BeauClair only survived 21 days, but the procedure still worked. Today scientists are still trying to get approval for Xenotransplantation. 

Infant Stephanie Fae BeauClaire, was born in Barstow California. October 14 1984. With the infant being born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome – a fatal heart defect. She was in critical condition. And had been quickly transferred to Loma Linda University Medical Centre. Although at this time, doner hearts were extremely rare. And baby’s with conditions like this tended to only live a few weeks. There for a doctor had told Faes mother Theresa BeauClaire “She could keep her daughter in the hospital until the end, or take her mom to die” Theresa took the baby home.

Bailey, was away when all this went down. When he got back to Loma Linda, the information was passed on to him. At the time he had been studying Baboon hearts, being transplanted into infants. He agreed to do the surgery. Theresa BeauClaire later received a call, from one of  Baileys colleagues about the surgery. She took the infant and headed to Loma Linda. Bailey had stayed up in his office all night with Theresa BeauClaire, answering her questions. He explained the years of cross species research he had conducted. Bailey made sure Theresa knew the procedure would be highly experimental. She agreed with him. In a telephone interview her words were “ I knew she was going to die, and I had to try. If I hadn’t tried, I always would have wondered. Could we have saved her? Until your faced with that, you don’t know what you’ll do.” They both agreed together they would go ahead with the surgery. 

 Bailey than proceeded to find a Baboon, with tissue that seemed most immunologically compatible to the infant. None of the blood types matched. Bailey called this “a tactical error with catastrophic consequences.” The surgery ended up taking place October 26 1984. The infants heart rate went up right after the procedure. But unfortunately her body started to decline 14 days after, Stephanie Fae Beauclair passed away November 15 1984. This will forever be the start to Xenotransplantation.

Over the past few years there have been a lot of ideas on Xenotransplantation. Such as Pig skin for burnes, Pig kidney for kidney failure, and pig pancreatic islets for diabetes. Currently 10 patients die in hospital from the lack of human doners. So Xenotransplantation seems like a good idea, however it’s very open to cross- species disease and infection. There for no Xenograft projects are yet approved by the FDA. A lot more research needs to be done before we start trading body parts.
Xenotransplantation: using pigs as organ and tissue donors for humans (
Genetically Modified Pigs as Organ Donors for Xenotransplantation (

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