Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Egg donation for stem cell research – balancing the risks and benefits

20.06.2006
In the wake of the scandal involving fraudulent cloning research, concerns about the welfare of women donating eggs for research purposes have arisen.

Finding a way to balance the welfare of donors and the promise held out by embryonic stem cell research is vital, a bioethicist will tell the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, Czech Republic on Tuesday 20 June 2006.

Mrs. Heidi Mertes, from the Department of Philosophy and Moral Science, Ghent University, Belgium, will tell the conference that specific concerns include informed consent, risks for the donors’ health, distributive justice (will there ever be enough eggs for therapies and will treatments be affordable?), and the possibility of being offered undue inducement to donate. “Some interest groups and regulators regard these concerns as extra reasons to oppose human embryonic stem cell research”, says Mertes, “and clearly, asking women to donate eggs for research purposes can only be acceptable if the benefits outweigh the risks. These issues need to be addressed as soon as possible, since the demand for eggs will probably rise as stem cell research progresses.”

“In our research we set out to balance the bioethical principles at stake, and by doing so developed guidelines under which egg donation for stem cell derivation can withstand moral scrutiny”, she says. Risks for donors should be reduced as much as possible by thorough screening of candidates to identify those at risk of developing severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, such as young age and body weight, says Mertes and her co-author, Professor Guido Pennings. The use of ovulation induction medications should be limited and long term follow-up carried out to assess any adverse effects.

A third option, they say, could be to limit donors to IVF patients who are already undergoing ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. If in vitro maturation of eggs and egg freezing become reliable techniques, a significant number could be obtained in this way. Finally, alternative sources of eggs should be sought, such as cadavers, aborted female fetuses, animals, surgically removed ovaries, and the production of eggs from existing stem cell lines.

“However, there are still a number of ethical issues which would need to be addressed”, says Mertes. “For example, should donors be paid? It has been argued that payment would lead to undue inducement, exploitation and the commodification of human tissue. But if donors were reimbursed for their time and effort rather than for the number of eggs retrieved, this would largely avoid this problem.

“Many legislators are currently working on the regulation of stem cell research and deriving human embryonic stem cells through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)”, says Mertes, “and we are concerned that the Korean scandal may persuade them to prohibit donation of oocytes for research and thus indirectly SCNT. We believe that it is important to illustrate that women’s welfare and SCNT are not irreconcilable.”

Mary Rice | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mrcommunication.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>