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Human therapeutic cloning

Developments during the year 2006

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The following news items relate to therapeutic cloning: the creation of pre-embryos in order to extract their stem cells and create a human organ. They are unrelated to reproductive cloning: the creation of a newborn who is an exact duplication of an existing person.

See another essay for U.S. legislative information at the Federal and State levels.

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Cloning news items during 2006:

bullet 2006-FEB-14: UK: Regulatory change to allow women to donate eggs: The British government is expected to change the regulations concerning the use of donated eggs for cloning experiments. Scientists will be able to recruit donors from among two groups of healthy women: those who are friends or family members of scientists or of patients with diseases for which therapeutic cloning shows promise. The latter group would probably include most women in the UK. The potential donors would have to undergo independent counseling to confirm that they are acting voluntarily.

In the past, only women who were undergoing IVF or other gynecological operations were permitted to donate eggs for research. This has resulted in a shortage of eggs which has slowed therapeutic cloning studies. Those opposed to the change say that it would place women at risk for health problems. In rare cases, the use of medication to stimulate women's ovaries can lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which, in rare cases, can cause kidney damage.
bullet Ainsley Newson, lecturer in medical ethics at the University of Bristol, said:
"So long as women are made fully aware of these and are not put under duress, they should have every opportunity to participate."
bullet Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said:
"The journal Nature last week described egg donation as an 'unpleasant, invasive process' which can cause 'life-threatening side effects.' How extraordinary then to find the HFEA endorsing donation at a time when scientists are at last acknowledging the significant risks associated with the process."

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  1. Mark Henderson, "Donor breakthrough for cloning research," Times Online, 2006-FEB-14, at: 

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Copyright 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2006-FEB-14
Last updated 2006-FEB-14

Author: Bruce A Robinson

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