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
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences