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The Editors | 11.07.07

Issues

Human Therapeutic Cloning at a Standstill

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A year and a half after a highly publicized approval to start human therapeutic-cloning research at Harvard, Eggan and his collaborators have gotten nowhere. Despite extensive outreach, they still lack a crucial resource for their experiments: human eggs. 'We've spent $100,000 on advertising, but we have yet to have a single woman donate eggs... Unlike other embryonic stem-cell research, these experiments require unfertilized human eggs. However, egg-donation procedure is uncomfortable and potentially painful, and it carries some medical risk. Women must undergo counseling sessions to understand the risks involved, hormone treatments to stimulate ovulation, and a medical procedure in which a needle is inserted into the vagina to remove eggs from the ovary. A small percentage of donors develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which in rare cases can cause kidney damage. After gaining approval from various regulatory boards at Harvard last year, Eggan and his collaborators began recruiting egg donors with advertisements in local papers and disease-advocacy magazines. 'We've had hundreds of calls from women who are interested in donating, but when they find out about the time, effort, and pain involved, they simply can't take the time to go forward,' says Eggan..."

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TOPICS:    bioethics | cloning | eggs
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