Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Exploitation of women totally disregarded by biased and ridiculous Times comment piece "The crazy coalition holding back science"

Instead of giving factual and accurate information on why women internationally are opposed to the harvesting of eggs from women in invasive and dangerous procedures, the Times today dismisses this as the crazy coalition holding back science". There is no mention of the fact that women have died from egg donation, no mention of the invasiveness and dangers of the procedure to women's health, and no mention of the ludicrousness of the scientific procedures that require vast numbers of eggs and have achieved nothing to date or the profit motives driving these scientists.

If you want information about how women could be exploited, don't go to the Times, see CORE's information about women exploited by egg trading in Romania, and the woman who died during IVF treatment from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.


Anonymous henry, Durham said...

Do you seriously think that the majority of people are going to say that the inevitable by-product of IVF should not be used to help cure deseases like MS and Parkinsons?

First, the vast majority of people support IVF treatment, consider it acceptable and would use it themselves if it were their only chance of having a child.

Second, people recognise the possible future benefits of stem cell research and are happy for it to continue as long as human cloning is not attempted.

Women die during IVF treatment? Fine, I accept that you may have some evidence for a tiny number of cases. However, this is a treatment where you can actually meet people who would not be here were it not for IVF treatment. Are you saying that they shouldn't be here?

Similarly, there's a good chance that in fifty years people will be living decades longer due to treatments developed using stem cell research.

Most people do believe in the value of human life. They think that MS patients and couples with fertility problems should be helped. Have you ever thought they might have a point?

11:29 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

Henry, there are a number of factual errors in your post:

Fact Numnber 1: spare embryos are NOT a natural byproduct of IVF, as IVF can be done without creating spare embryos.

Fact Number 2: spare embryos left over from IVF cannot be used to "cure diseases like MS and parkinsons" for the simple reason that embryonic stem cells (which by the way are very difficult to control and cause cancer) would be rejected by the patient's immune system.

Fact 3: You say "people recognise the benefits of stem cell research and are happy to continue as long as long as human cloning is not attempted" --- what type of stem cell research are you referring to here? If it is adult or non-embryonic stem cell research I am quite happy to accept this sentence. I have no problem with non-embryonic stem cell research. To date there have been NO benefits of embryonic stem cell research, so that point is incorrect.

Fact 4: IVF has extremely high failure rates and it is possible for infertile couples to have children without IVF - either through adoption, or by having children earlier, diet changes etc and it is possible for IVF to be done without destroying embryos or exposing women to unnecessary harms. Even Professor Winston the IVF specialist criticised IVF for involving too many experimental and dangerous techniques.

Fact 5. I strongly recommend you check out www.stemcellresearch.org and www.corethics.org if you haven't already and you will see that these organisations strongly support adults and umbilical cord stem cell research. To date these have been used in 65 conditions, embryonic stem cells have been used to treat no conditions.

Fact 6: I strongly support medical research and I'm signed up to the bone marrow donor register. I want society to find cures for the diseases you mention. I do not believe that research should be allowed that crosses serious ethical boundaries and I presume you would agree with this in principle - ie that even if my death would mean that 10 people could be saved by plundering my heart, lungs and other vital organs, it would not be justified to kill me. As a principle then plundering the early embryo and dismantling it for research is not justified because it entails the death of a human being.

The beauty of adult stem cell research is that it does not involve any destruction of human life, perhaps on this point then we can agree, that adult and umbilical cord stem cells should be used in medical research and treatment, and we'll leave the embryo alone.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous henry, Durham said...

Since embryos are not children I don't really understand your point. Second, they're not your embryos, they belong to the couples going through IVF. Third, if this were not a productive area of study why is so much work being done in this area? Scientists do not generally waste resources purely because they enjoy messing about with embryos. Fourth, science and religion do not mix. If memory serves there was once a man who said that the earth rotated around the sun. He turned out to be right. The people who persecuted him are still around.
Fifth, you do not get to decide whether a couple should be allowed their last shot at concieving a child of their own. Nobody should. I am sure you would rather they adopt the child of a fourteen year old rape victim, but they might not see that as the first option.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

hey Henry

let's deal with one point at a time, I didn't mention any thing to do with religion and the earth going round the sun so let's stick to some scientific facts.

the point about who owns the embryo is interesting as if the infertile couple give the embryo up for research it either goes to private researchers or state funded research. In the UK it is state funded so it is society's decision, so yes, I and others do have a say as to whether this research happens.

I don't agree that ethically an embryo is owned by anyone. Civilised societies abandoned the notion of slavery some time ago. Even if you don't agree with me, why insist on the use of embryos in research when the science proves that adult stem cells are not only scientifically superior but have none of the ethical problems of embryonic stem cells?

please have a look at stemcellresearch.org and come back to me when you have!

there are commercial motives behind embryonic stem cell research.


7:37 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

Coincidentally, the original post actually referred to the exploitation of healthy women who aren't undergoing IVF to obtain eggs for embryo research and cloning.

This has nothing to do with IVF and some people who might accept embryo experimentation on embryos donated by infertile couples are opposed to exploiting women in this way, as well as creating an embryo that is never intended to be implanted and given the chance of life, but is destined solely for destruction.

1:03 PM  

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