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Thread: Scientists: Egg shortage hurts stem cell research

  1. #1

    Scientists: Egg shortage hurts stem cell research

    Scientists: Egg shortage hurts stem cell research
    Scientists say egg shortage threatens stem cell research, seek ways to pay for eggs
    July 30, 2008: 03:54 PM EST

    NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Facing a human egg shortage they say is preventing medical breakthroughs, scientists and biotech entrepreneurs are pushing the country's top funders of stem cell research to rethink rules that prohibit paying women for eggs.

    While fertility clinics have long paid for eggs, the voter-approved state ballot measure that created the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine specifically bans compensating women for eggs donated for research.

    Massachusetts, another center of U.S. stem cell research, also bans payments for eggs by law, and National Academy of Sciences guidelines advise against payments.

    The restrictions are necessary, supporters say, to avoid creating a market for human eggs that encourages women to risk their health for speculative science.

    But researchers argue that a shortage of eggs fueled by the payment ban is what's kept them from making the advances that prove their technique's real potential.

    "You need to have enough eggs to make this thing work, and when you have enough eggs it does work," said Dr. Sam Wood, chief executive of La Jolla-based Stemagen Corp.

    "If these guidelines weren't in place, we'd already have many (stem cell) lines and be much closer to a treatment for devastating illnesses for which these are so well suited," Wood said.

    The conflict centers on an effort to create stem cells from embryos that are exact clones of adults. The hope is to one day use the cells them to generate transplant tissues or even whole body parts to treat incurable diseases.

    The technique, known as therapeutic cloning, requires donated eggs whose genetic material is replaced by DNA from a regular adult cell such as a skin cell. Therapeutic cloning holds such promise, its backers say, because the body is unlikely to reject replacement parts that are an exact genetic match.


  2. #2


    I think this is strange since women are clearly paid thousands of dollars to "donate" their eggs to fertility clinics. Some places pay over $5,000 for an egg, and claim the procedures are safe. Obviously there are different reasons besides "safety" to prevent compensation for eggs donated to science.

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