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SURVEY: MOST COUPLES WITH UNUSED EMBRYOS WILLING TO DONATE TO STEM CELL RESEARCH

MANY STORED EMBRYOS WILL BE DESTROYED ANYWAY, AND LETTING THEM BE USED IN RESEARCH COULD LEAD TO LIFESAVING TREATMENTS

embryos.png Stem cell research is in the opinion of most credible SCIENTISTS, the greatest hope for combating many of today’s most debilitating diseases. As a person currently living with one of those diseases, this is a matter of great personal importance for me.

Hence, I take great offense when politicians of the ilk of George W. Bush use this all-so-important issue to garner votes from the more extreme elements of their base.

Granted, there are some segments of our population who consider the use of embryos in this manner to be the taking of an unborn life. It is their belief that life begins at fertilization, though there is no concrete scientific evidence to support this theory of viability.

But then again, in one of the sadder realities of our times, science or for that matter any sort of fact really doesn’t mean all that much to those who consider themselves to be true believers.

But this is America, and every person is entitled to his or her own beliefs. Where I have a problem is that few if any of the opponents of stem cell research, particularly the oh-so vocal politicians who scream from the rooftops their dedication to the issue, ever say anything about the commonplace policy in the fertility industry of destroying embryos extracted and stored, but for whatever reason, not used.

In the posting, which follows, reference is made to a new survey, the results of which may surprise many hardened stem cell opponents.
It is on issues like this that my faith in Americans basic decency is reinforced.

Now if only the politicians were so decent

-LIB

A majority of couples with stored embryos from fertility treatments say they would be willing to donate unused embryos for stem cell research, says a doctor who surveyed patients.

“Large numbers of infertility patients … support using embryos for research, and these are people who have invested emotionally and financially in these embryos,” Dr. Anne Drapkin Lyerly of Duke University said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Use of stem cells derived from embryos is a moral issue that has troubled politicians, religious and medical leaders and couples with stored embryos. And it’s an issue with strong advocates on both sides. The problem is, obtaining stem cells kills the embryo.

Many see this as wrong and argue that they are protecting life. That’s what led President Bush to veto a bill Wednesday that would have eased limits on using embryos in research.

Others point out that many stored embryos will be destroyed anyway, and letting them be used in research could lead to lifesaving treatments. So Lyerly and Ruth R. Faden of Johns Hopkins University decided to ask the opinions of couples who had undergone fertility treatments and who had frozen embryos in storage at treatment centers.

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