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First human cases of spinal repair underway in Australia

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Misu, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030124/sc_nm/health_australia_superman_dc_3

    The big controversy isn't really whether it's being done on humans - eventually, research must move from nonhuman animals to humans. The controversy is the fact it's being done with embryonic stem cells. Isn't that wild?!

    I still do not know how I feel about embryonic stem cells being used to grow new parts for people, but I do know that adult stem cells (found in places like the pancreas) aren't as effective, nor do they respond to stimulants quite like embryonic stem cells. I am eagerly awaiting the results of these human tests.
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    I thought embryonic stem cells could be harvested from umbilical cord blood? Or is your ambivalence not the source, but the whole concept?

    I'm fine with it and think it's a great scientific advancement, as long as the source is limited to umbilical cord blood.
     
  3. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    In this case, as per the article (I may have misunderstood it, but I don't think so), the stem cells are being harvested from about 70,000 'left over embryos' from Austrialian invitro fertilization attempts.

    You know, there's nothing 'left over' about a fertilized egg that is then allowed to form into an embryo. That, to me, is still someone's child. I don't know how invitro works in Australia, but here, the parents own those, and the center can't take them, and neither can the government. So this is where my concern and confusion as to how I feel about it comes in. I guess I could sort of understand if the parents of these 'left overs' signed them over for scientific study, like you can do when you die, donate your body to science. But considering it's not THEIR bodies they're donating to science is what irks me. It seems unethical to me, although there is no precedence.

    edit: found this in the article:

    Australia's parliament last month approved medical research on 70,000 spare human embryos created for in-vitro fertility treatment.
     
  4. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    I'm for it and I think it's a great advancement.
    Here's to hoping it works!
     
  5. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Misu, what would you do with these embryos. If 5 embryos came to being in an attempt at in vitro fertilization and only one is needed you keep the others in case the first does not work. But if the first works should they throw out these embryos? Should they force the couple to have the other four children once the embryos have been created? Is not this use of the embryos at least better than just throwing them out?
     
  6. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Your questions are exactly why I am confused, Shiny.

    On the one hand, it is necessary for several attempts to be made with invitro, as it's not 100%. So I understand the fertilization of several embryos.

    On the other hand, I am concerned that invitro clinics will start making 'extra embryos' - instead of fertilizing 6 eggs, they'll do 8 or 10, and then sell whatever is left over for scientific uses, such as stem cell harvesting.

    Is it better to do this than throw them away? I don't think I'm equipped to answer such a heavy question.
     

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