Thursday, June 21, 2007

60% of Couples OK Embryos for Research

Web MD Medical News (reporting on survey in Science): By Salynn Boyles

A new survey suggests the majority of people most intimately involved in the debate over embryonic stem cell research favor the use of stored frozen embryos for this purpose.

Sixty percent of infertility patients with frozen embryos queried in the newly published survey said they would be willing to donate their unused embryos for stem cell research.

By contrast, just over one in five (22%) said they would be willing to donate the embryos to other couples wishing to conceive.

Results from the survey were made public Wednesday, just as President Bush vetoed legislation aimed at easing restrictions on federally financed stem cell research.

“Polls show that 60% or more of the American public support embryonic stem cell research, and we now know that about the same number of infertility patients would be likely to donate their embryos for this cause,” survey co-author Ruth R. Faden, PhD, tells WebMD.

Faden is director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

“There is a strange disconnect between the pubic policy at the federal level and the preferences of both the American people and the people who created the embryos we are talking about,” she says....

“The presumption has been that if you respect embryos you would be less likely to want to see them used for research or destroyed than for [pregnancy],” she says. “What we found was that the people who are most invested in these embryos -- emotionally, genetically, and financially -- are reluctant to have them turned into children outside the context of their families, without their love and care.”

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