Publication Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Nursing (B.S.N.)

Primary Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nursing


Anencephaly, neural tube defect, organ donation, nursing, palliative care


Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing


Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that severely limits the lifespan of affected infants. While these infants have no higher brain function, they are still persons, and should be given the same moral and ethical considerations as healthy infants. With this in mind, organ donation procedures should follow the same guidelines that apply to other donors. Because a large part of nursing care for anencephalic infants is palliative care, nurses need appropriate training to care effectively for both the infant and the family, providing for physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs.