It is a late night in a Wisconsin hospital when a birthing team assembles in an operating room for the birth of a little girl. Unlike the events that surround most births, there was no baby shower, no painstaking assembly of a crib, nor a college fund set-up in preparation of the future. This newborn baby girl is an anencephalic newborn. Her entire life will be only minutes or hours long. However, her parents seek to make her impact last far longer than that with the donation of her organs and tissues. They seek to help those like a little boy down the hall in desperate need of a liver transplant but too tiny to be a recipient for most viable organs on the registry. Her parents may wish this to be her legacy, but that is not a decision they can make. There is a newborn with healthy organs, but only minutes to live, and one in desperate need of them who possess the potential for a long life if they are received. However, the current legal framework in the state of Wisconsin precludes the possibility of this donation. Precludes the possibility of that long life. This comment seeks to make the argument for a change to Wisconsin Statute 146.71 to include a provision for anencephalic newborns to be considered dead for the purposes of neonatal donation.
Meaghan McTigue, One For All? The Use of Anencephalic Newborns as Organ Donors, 21(1) Marq. Ben & Soc. Welfare L. Rev. 63 (Spring 2020).