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March 21, 2001

Ethical Issues in Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(11):1439-1440. doi:10.1001/jama.285.11.1439

To the Editor: The articles on embryonic stem cells by Dr Lanza and collegues1 and Drs Juengst and Fossel2 focus on ethical issues raised by human embryo research but do not address another set of issues relevant to stem cell research. Creating human embryonic stem cell lines from somatic cell donors would require a large supply of oocytes. Experience in infertility treatment indicates that obtaining such oocytes will not be easy.3 Most women will be unwilling to undergo oocyte retrieval unless they are offered financial rewards or the opportunity to assist in their own or a loved one's treatment. Such incentives to provide oocytes raise ethical issues meriting discussion in their own right. Proposals to use oocytes of other species to create human embryonic cell lines require extensive ethical analysis as well.4

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