THANK YOU FOR PUBLISHING the article "Stem-Cell Research and the Affirmation of Life" (Autumn 2007). Since 1978, more than 1 million babies have been born through the use of assisted reproductive technologies. This experience often includes a heartfelt and challenging decision regarding what to do with any surplus embryos, particularly given the few options available--frozen indefinitely, destruction, embryo adoption or donation or research.
Despite what embryo adoption proponents advertise, embryo adoption is a far cry from "the perfect solution where everyone lives happily ever after The term happily ever after is used in association with many works of children’s fiction and romantic fiction. It describes a happy ending, often a cliché in which all the good characters have emerged victorious and all the evil characters have been punished. ." In addition to the reasons Rosemarie Tong so eloquently points to, embryo adoption has a very low success rate and is extremely costly for the recipient family, easily exceeding $20,000 for a single attempt.
These realities, coupled with new research led by Duke and Johns Hopkins Universities highlighting that more than 60 percent of infertility patients who have frozen embryos would be likely to donate to stem-cell research, suggest that there are many more embryos potentially available for stem-cell research than originally thought. This could result in a hundredfold increase in the number of existing stem-cell lines.
Ignoring the preferences and moral judgment of infertility patients not only harms the families struggling with these difficult decisions, but also has severe effects on the more than 100 million Americans who suffer from cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, heart disease, ALS Als (äls), Ger. Alsen, island, 121 sq mi (313 sq km), Sønderjylland co., S Denmark, in the Lille Bælt, separated from the mainland by the narrow Alensund. and other debilitating de·bil·i·tat·ing
Causing a loss of strength or energy.
Weakening, or reducing the strength of.
Mentioned in: Stress Reduction diseases and disorders that could benefit from stem-cell research. I wholeheartedly whole·heart·ed
Marked by unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm: wholehearted approval.
whole agree with Dr. Tong--the most moral decision is to allow these embryos to be donated to research so that lives will indeed be saved.
EVELINA W. STERLING,
PHD, MPH, CHES
THE DEBATE ABOUT EMBRYONIC-STEM-CELL research often focuses intently on the moral status of embryos, yet omits other significant ethical and social questions. Unfortunately, Rosemarie Tong's article is no exception to the pattern.
As supporters of embryonic-stem-cell research, we share in hopes for treatments and cures. But exaggerating their likelihood and imminence--as Tong does by echoing the biotech industry's dubious claims about stem-cell cures for tens of millions--is unhelpful. That's what Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman meant when she warned against "succumbing to irrational exuberance Irrational Exuberance
An infamous phrase uttered by Alan Greenspan in 1996 to describe the overvalued market at the time.
Although every word spoken by Mr. " in discussing stem-cell research.
Tong quickly dismisses concerns about asking women to provide eggs for the cloning technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer Noun 1. somatic cell nuclear transfer - moving a cell nucleus and its genetic material from one cell to another
nuclear transplantation, SCNT, somatic cell nuclear transplantation
biological research - scientific research conducted by biologists (SCNT Noun 1. SCNT - moving a cell nucleus and its genetic material from one cell to another
nuclear transplantation, somatic cell nuclear transfer, somatic cell nuclear transplantation
biological research - scientific research conducted by biologists )--a high-profile aspect of stem-cell research, but one that is still very much speculative. She acknowledges that egg retrieval is "an arduous and risky process," but doesn't explain the risks or consider the reasons that they are especially problematic in the research context.
Data on the possible hazards of egg extraction are seriously inadequate, as are effective regulations to minimize the known dangers. For example, the drugs used to suppress ovarian function (before controlled hyper-stimulation of the ovaries Ovaries
The female sex organs that make eggs and female hormones.
Mentioned in: Choriocarcinoma
ovaries (ō´v to produce multiple eggs) have powerful effects that have not been adequately explored.
Research using stem cells stem cells, unspecialized human or animal cells that can produce mature specialized body cells and at the same time replicate themselves. Embryonic stem cells are derived from a blastocyst (the blastula typical of placental mammals; see embryo), which is very young derived from conventional embryos faces persistent problems with tumorgenicity and the inability to control cell differentiation. Why not use otherwise-discarded embryos from IVF IVF in vitro fertilization.
in vitro fertilization
IVF 1 In vitro fertilization, see there 2. Intravascular fluid clinics to solve these, and avoid asking young women to undergo egg extraction?
Tong claims that there is no "good moral reason that a woman who sells her eggs for research purposes should not be paid the same amount as a woman who sells her eggs for reproductive purposes." Leaving aside the question of whether body parts and tissues should be bought and sold for any purpose, it's important to note that eggs used for reproduction will result in a baby at least some of the time, while benefits from SCNT research are unknown.
We hope that Tong and others will give these concerns the consideration they deserve.
Associate executive director
Center for Genetics and Society The Center for Genetics and Society (CGS) is a nonprofit information and public affairs organization, based in Oakland, California, California. It promotes the regulation of new human genetic and reproductive technologies, to confine them to what it considers responsible uses.
Our Bodies Ourselves, Boston
The author responds:
ALTHOUGH THE COMMERCIALIZATION of egg "donation" does merit continued societal scrutiny, so long as it exists, I think egg donors should be paid in research as well as reproductive contexts. Helping an infertile in·fer·tile
Not capable of initiating, sustaining, or supporting reproduction.
adj unable to produce offspring. couple have a baby can be, and most often is, a rewarding emotional experience; but so too is helping scientists find a treatment and even cure for a disease that has plagued loved ones or humanity in general.
ROSEMARIE TONG, PHD
University of North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop.