Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Zealot-in-Chief, get around this one

By Edward Copeland

Dubya stays as firm and intransigent as he is on Iraq when it comes to stem cell research, despite the fact that most unused frozen embryos will be destroyed anyway.

Now an article in Newsweek reports that 60% of those who had those embryos created during fertility treatments want them used for research anyway. I guess Dubya will try to claim eminent domain on them, right.

After a successful series of infertility treatments, Kristen Cohen and her husband, Lee, had two sets of twin boys, now ages 6 and 2. They also had about a dozen embryos that they no longer needed but could not imagine going to waste. "We went through so much to create these embryos," says Kristen. "This was much more than blood, sweat and tears." The Cohens had also benefited firsthand from medical research; Lee, who has cystic fibrosis, has been helped by advanced treatments. So in 2006, when Kristen saw an article about the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, she contacted it and began the process of donating their embryos, which could be used to create new lines of embryonic stem cells. After five months of paperwork and counseling for the couple, the Cohen embryos were in the hands of researchers. "We know they might be destroyed without making a single stem-cell line," Kristen says. "I don't need to know that my embryo helped save patient X. It's the greater good."

According to the article, a recent survey of more than 1,000 infertility patients found that 60 percent were willing to donate their frozen embryos for stem-cell research. Only 22 percent were interested in donating their embryos to another couple, while 24 percent indicated that they were likely to discard them. So, will Dubya try to go against the wishes of the true parents of the embryos as to the fate of those undeveloped cells?

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