Extra Embryos: Destroy or Donate to Research?

One of the hottest debates in bioethics has been the use of human embryos in stem cell research. Infertility patients find themselves in the middle of this debate. Patients that use in vitro fertilization often have many frozen embryos in storage and must decide what to do with the embryos once they are done having children.

New research from Anne Lyerly of the Duke University Medical Center and Ruth Faden of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics indicates that patients see destroying their embryos or donating them to other infertile couples as unacceptable options. The patients find it especially uncomfortable to think of their genetic embryo developing into another couples child. However, these patients widely support donating their excess embryos to research, including developing embryonic stem cell lines.

Other studies have shown that 66 percent of the American public supports donating embryos for stem cell research. This support runs across all religious, political, and socioeconomic lines. The percentage of infertility patients that support donating of their frozen embryos for medical research or stem cell research is about the same.

In 2001, President George W. Bush restricted federally-funded embryonic stem cell research in the United States to 20 preexisting stem cell lines. No new embryonic stem cell lines can be produced using federal research funds. However, the limited cell lines have prompted concern from the scientific community that there just aren’t enough cell lines for safe, effective research. The frozen embryos remaining from infertility treatments are not created for research purposes and could potentially get around the federal funding restrictions. They may also solve a moral dilemma in the debate over how stem cells are made for research.

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Comments

  1. Honestly I think people can do what they want to do with their embryos. I’m a baptist and I don’t really believe in that sorta thing, but everybody is entitled to free will. And if they want to help save lifes, let them.

  2. Rock on science!!! I am all for this, just don’t take it too far:)

  3. science does play a big part in our lives but i think there is that point were you can cross the line

  4. I think the embryos should be donated because the embryos could be used to give life in another way.It should be the decision of the person who has the enbryos.

  5. I think donate the stem cells why would you destroy something that could save a life. Science research is something that we always need. And if one day if I needed the stem cell to have a child I would be all for it.

  6. So I think the embryos should be donated because the embroys could be used to give life in another way. It should be the decision of the person who has the embryos.

  7. I believe it is a good idea to donate embryo’s. They can be used to help and save people lives. It also give people a change to have children, and mmost thought they could never have them. I know i would want this if my embryo’s wasn’t any good, or either i would of been devastating to me. Also if a person feels they dont want their embryo’s then DON’T donate them.

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