Background: Xenotransplantation research has been being actively conducted in Korea. However, there are numbers of socio-ethical issues involved in this research, and it is necessary to know public attitudes toward the research, inducing "public consensus" for the sound development of the technology. Materials and methods: A telephone survey consisting of 10 questionnaire items was conducted to investigate the attitudes of Koreans on social and ethical issues related to xenotransplantation. Participants were randomly selected in proportion to the 2009 Korean population census. The response rate was 22.3%. Finally, 500 sets of data were collected and analyzed with SPSS® 12. A statistical analysis was performed using the chi-square test. Results: In the first phase of the study, 69.8% of the respondents were positive about xenotransplantation while 29.0% were negative. However, after being informed of the specific benefit and risk, 58.4% of the respondents stated that xenotransplantation research should be continued, while 38.6% of them indicated that these studies should be prohibited; 63.0% of the respondents agreed with lifelong surveillance after xenotransplantation, while 34.0% disagreed. To avoid triggering immune response in the transplantees, 63.0% of the respondents also approved of the necessity of genetic modification of pigs. If xenotransplantation proves to be safe, 56.8% of the respondents said that they would accept it if necessary; 69.8% of the respondents would recommend it for their family members and friends as a therapeutic option if they are in need. Men were more positive than women about the necessity of animal experimentation for xenotransplantation research, the necessity of lifelong surveillance, and the necessity of genetic modification of pigs. There was no significant difference between the religious and non-religious group except about the issue of lifelong surveillance. Conclusion: Korean people have relatively positive attitudes toward xenotransplantation research and animal experiments regarding xenotransplantation.
- Korean attitudes toward xenotransplantation
- animal experiments
- lifelong surveillance