Saturday, April 7, 2012

A step too far?

The first human egg cells that have been grown entirely in the laboratory from stem cells could be fertilised later this year in a development that will revolutionise fertility treatment. - Reading this first line in an article in The Independent today has made me feel a mixture of emotions.

Great it could lead to a reversal of the menopause in older women allowing them not to suffer the age-related health problems associated with the menopause such as osteoporosis and heart disease, and of course this “breakthrough” could help infertile women to have babies as well as making women as fertile in later life as men. BUT….. If scientists were to go through with this they obviously haven't thought of the potential IMPLICATIONS. Imagine an 80 year old woman giving birth.

Scientists are near to being granted a license from the UK fertility watchdog to fertilise the eggs as part of a series of tests to generate an unlimited supply of human eggs. The scientists want to fertilise the laboratory-grown egg cells with human sperm to prove that they are viable. Any resulting embryos will be studied for up to 14 days - the legal limit - to see if they are normal. These embryos will either be frozen or allowed to perish as they are considered “experimental” material and therefore legally cannot be transplanted into a woman's womb.

Who defines the limits of modern science and where are those limits? How far is too far?

Please comment and share your views!!

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