Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More than half of infertile couples may be willing to donate unused embryos to stem cell research

21.06.2007
In a survey of over a thousand patients who have created and frozen embryos as part of fertility treatment, 60 percent said they would be likely to donate unused embryos for stem cell research, according to a study led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University. The researchers published their findings online in the June 21, 2007 Science Express, the online component of the journal Science, and the study will be published in the journal’s July 6, 2007 print issue.

These findings suggest that the number of embryos potentially available for stem cell research may be 10 times higher than previous estimates, resulting in a potential 100-fold increase in the number of stem cell lines -- groups of stem cells derived from a single source -- available for federally funded research.

Moreover, current federal policies do not reflect the preferences of infertility patients who have faced the very personal moral challenge of deciding what to do with their frozen embryos, according to the study.

“This has significant implications for potential policy change on stem cell research,” said Anne Drapkin Lyerly, M.D., an obstetrician/ gynecologist and bioethicist at Duke and lead investigator on the study. “Previous research indicates that there are approximately 400,000 frozen embryos stored in the United States; if half of those belong to people who are willing to donate embryos for research, and only half that number were in fact donated, there could still be 100,000 embryos available for research.” Earlier estimates placed the number of available embryos at about 11, 000, she said.

... more about:
»Lyerly »couple »half »stem cell research »unused

The researchers sent questionnaires to 2, 210 patients at nine infertility centers across the United States, asking them about their intentions for the frozen embryos they currently had stored. The study was funded by the Greenwall Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

While 49 percent of those who responded indicated that they were likely to donate some or all of their excess embryos to research in general, the number increased to about 60 percent when the questions were more specific, asking about stem cell research in particular, and about research aimed at developing treatments for human disease or for infertility, Lyerly said.

Among those surveyed, research proved to be the most desirable option for disposition of excess embryos, according to the study; other options, including donation to another infertile couple or destruction of the embryos, were far less desirable. Infertility patients proved more likely to support donating unused embryos to research than giving them to another couple or simply destroying them, possibly because they feel a responsibility to the embryos which actually precludes allowing them to develop into children to be reared by other people, or to be destroyed without benefit, Lyerly said. People undergoing fertility treatment may end up with anywhere from one to more than 20 unused embryos at the end of the process.

Stem cells have the ability to become any type of cell present in the human body, so it may be possible to use them in the future to treat many types of diseases, from autoimmune disorders to cancer, by generating healthy cells to replace damaged ones. Embryonic stem cells are more versatile than their counterparts derived from adults or from umbilical cord blood.

Currently, federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is limited to research on stem cell lines derived from embryos before August 2001, and may not be used for any research in which an embryo is destroyed. Funding from private or state funding sources is growing, but is still insufficient, Lyerly said. President Bush has vowed to veto recent federal legislation that would loosen current limitations on stem cell research.

“For these people, research may prove to be the most acceptable and morally preferable option,” she said.

Lauren Shaftel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

Further reports about: Lyerly couple half stem cell research unused

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>