Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Egg harvesting for stem cell research

14.08.2006
Women’s health and human rights advocates worldwide are increasingly concerned that overzealous pursuit of new scientific discoveries may once again be threatening women’s health. This time, young women are being asked to donate or sell their ova, not only for use in fertility clinics, but increasingly for non-clinical use in experimental cloning research.

Diane Beeson and Abby Lippman, based at California State University and McGill University, Montreal respectively, report on medical risks and ethical problems associated with collection of human oocytes (eggs) during IVF practice from donors who give them to other women who desperately want a child. Doubts are emerging about donating oocytes in this manner, even when recipients use them to establish a pregnancy. Their article Egg harvesting for stem cell research: medical risks and ethical problems is published in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online [www.rbmonline.com/Article/2503 – e-pub ahead of print 14 August 2006].

Widely practised in IVF, but not yet proven to be fully safe, various hormones are given to donors to stimulate several eggs to develop. Using ultrasound, ripe oocytes are then aspirated from within their follicles. The oocytes are often donated free, although the HFEA has given permission for donors to receive some compensation via discounts for their own IVF treatment. In one case reported, the donor oocytes were needed for stem cell research, which makes ethicists even more furious about ‘selling’ human oocytes.

It is hard to separate ethically this decision from giving direct payments to donors, or from fertilizing the eggs and then giving them away for research. In all these examples, many donors might have suffered from mild symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation, among other disorders, without their knowledge.

Recent research has stressed the risks of using hormonal stimulants to induce follicle growth and ovulation in women. Surprisingly, Beeson and Lippman claim that pharmaceutical companies have not been compelled to submit their information on the risks of such forms of ovulation induction to the US Food and Drug Administration. Claims are made of 25 deaths among donors, although this requires verification. Claims that cancers may be induced in some patients have been questioned or denied, although an increase arose in another study on >3500 women donors, and critics stress that many of these studies had short-term follow-ups in only a few women. These patients were among the first to attempt IVF, and their risks of tumours are now emerging and will be analysed in the near future.

IVF children have not yet displayed such anomalies, though significant abnormalities are reported in offspring of mice following similar treatments. These investigating authors nevertheless cited earlier reports on anomalies, including cancers, in offspring of women receiving exogenous hormones, perhaps due to the release of steroids. In view of all these known and unknown risks to women donors, these authors refer to organizations established to protect women undergoing IVF and other ovarian treatments. It is one thing, however, to raise a fuss about uncertain risks but quite another to gain hard data from the complex reports emerging in the world of assisted human conception.

Fiona Bennett | alfa
Further information:
http://www.rbmonline.com/Article/2503

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>