Egg harvesting for stem cell research: medical risks and ethical problems

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      Increasingly, researchers are seeking eggs from young women to be used for embryo cloning procedures. The harvesting of multiple eggs often involves the administration of drugs that have not been approved for this purpose. Also these drugs have not been adequately studied for their long-term effects on women despite research providing some evidence of significant harm to women in both the short and long term. Current practices follow a historical pattern of exposing women to risks that ultimately prove unacceptable. In addition, egg harvesting is taking place in a research climate marked by conflicts of interest, the misleading use of language to describe research goals, and a commercial push that may lead to the exploitation of young women. In this article, we outline these matters and explain how they are leading to an international campaign for a moratorium on egg harvesting for cloning purposes.



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      Diane Beeson, Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology and Social Services, California State University, East Bay, received her PhD from the University of California, San Francisco. A former Pew Post-doctoral Fellow in Health Policy, she is now an affiliated scholar with the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future, and a Co-founder of HandsOffOurOvaries. She has written numerous articles in professional journals and anthologies on prenatal diagnosis and social challenges of new reproductive technologies, and has served as a consultant for the NIH and diverse organizations on genetic testing.