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A Pigs Heart To Lower Life Cover

Feb 11, 2008
Death, whether it be through the cessation of the heartbeat or non-functioning of the brain, is final. This is the point for which life cover is normally paid out. However, there is the possibility of this becoming complicated in the future.

Long term, or life threatening illnesses, also bring about claims from life cover companies when a critical illness cover is included. This also has the capacity to change with modern advancements in medicine.

Illness or disease that carries the necessity for organ transplant would be strong enough to secure a life cover pay out. Organ donations in the UK have been at an all time low and this is of grave concern to the health authorities, due to many people not bothering to fill out organ donor cards.

Due to this, the government are making moves to ensure that every UK citizen is automatically an organ donor in the event of their death unless they carry an 'opt out' card. There are concerns that this takes the choice away from people but it just means that if someone is really against the idea, they will go to the minimal effort of filling in a card. It also means that there will now be many more organs to go round, many more lives saved and fewer life cover claims following death.

Add to that the realisation of US scientists who have managed to re-cycle hearts from dead animal bodies and make them beat again, the possibilities will eventually prove endless. Twenty two million people a year worldwide are currently living with the threat of heart failure and this breakthrough could be a life saver for them.

Experiments have already taken place with pig's hearts because their structure is the nearest of any animal to the human heart. If they could have all their cells washed away just leaving the basic muscle in a process called 'decellularisation', and then be injected with cells from the recipient, this would reduce the risk of rejection and save a multitude of lives.

Organ failure is a reason for critical illness cover to be paid out on life insurance and will cover the living expenses of the seriously ill person but if they were luckier than the man in the news recently who has been waiting 25 years for a kidney transplant, their quality of life would be massively improved with a transplant.

Of course, the biggest problem with organ transplants is the recipient's rejection, even when blood groups have been matched. The body sees the new organ as a foreign body and will reject it, still bringing about death if it cannot be rectified.

Scientists have taken a great deal of interest in a British girl who received a liver transplant, later becoming extremely ill with anaemia. In desperation, doctors took her off the anti-rejection drugs to find her body had taken on the immune system of the organ donor. She had changed blood groups form O Negative to O Positive. This has never been seen before and tests are being carried out into why it happened to help others in the same situation.

Long term illness, cancer and organ failure are a mounting statistic and life cover is there to ease the financial burden for the insured and their family. Lets hop the way scientists are going will mean that insurance pay outs will decrease as quality of life increases.
About the Author
Insurance expert Catherine Harvey looks at the effects onlife cover of organ transplants. To find out more please visit http://www.theidol.com/
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