December brought the news that Johns Hopkins University planned to attempt the first penis transplants in the US; now, the first candidate has been selected. An American soldier wounded in an explosion in Afghanistan will be the first person in the US, and the third in the world, to undergo a penis transplant. The first was in China in 2006, though the patient was so disturbed by the donated organ that he asked for it to be removed, while the second, in South Africa in 2014, was so successful the man fathered a child. Reuters reports the unnamed American patient sustained significant groin injuries and lost the majority of his penis in the explosion. The transplant could happen within a few weeks, pending the availability of a donor organ that fits the necessary age (within five to 10 years of the recipient) and skin color parameters.
The Washington Post looks at the donation part of the equation, noting that the Johns Hopkins team has voiced worries that some individuals may shy away from becoming an organ donor over the thought of losing his penis after death. A Johns Hopkins Q&A on the transplant clarifies that "many people might think that organ donation means unquestioned consent for donation of all organs. That's not the case with the face, hand, or penis"; the consent of the deceased's family is required in those cases. Johns Hopkins is currently looking only at US servicemen as potential transplant candidates, with more than 60 identified as possibilities, per the Post. The transplant team notes potential patients must be physically and mentally up for the procedure; psychiatric evaluations for the patients can be up to a year long. (Read more about the only successful transplant to date.)