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    ABSTRACT: This paper explores problems associated with using altruism as the central value in gamete donation, and in doing so draws on empirical data that sheds light on why gamete donors choose to donate. Donation of bodily material is, arguably, supposed to be motivated by altruism, and this is the view taken by many European governments. Other values are often ignored or rejected as morally inappropriate. This paper analyses some conceptual and practical problems with the use of altruism as the motivation to determine moral acceptability-drawing on empirical data that suggests gamete donors are not motivated purely by altruism, and that motivations are in fact quite complex. Two problems are first analysed: (1) how do we distinguish altruistic from non-altruistic donations and (2) how do we distinguish between removing barriers and providing incentives. A final question, triggered by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' report, is whether the meaning of the payment should be decided on the basis of an a priori definition or on the basis of the donors' subjective experience. It is concluded that there are different legitimate core values in donation, which should be balanced. In order to value the good generated by donation, donors with mixed motives should be accepted, as long as helping others is an important motive and also features in their motivation.
    Monash bioethics review 03/2015; 33(1). DOI:10.1007/s40592-015-0019-x
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    ABSTRACT: Fertilized mouse zygotes can reprogram somatic cells to a pluripotent state. Human zygotes might therefore be useful for producing patient-derived pluripotent stem cells. However, logistical, legal and social considerations have limited the availability of human eggs for research. Here we show that a significant number of normal fertilized eggs (zygotes) can be obtained for reprogramming studies. Using these zygotes, we found that when the zygotic genome was replaced with that of a somatic cell, development progressed normally throughout the cleavage stages, but then arrested before the morula stage. This arrest was associated with a failure to activate transcription in the transferred somatic genome. In contrast to human zygotes, mouse zygotes reprogrammed the somatic cell genome to a pluripotent state within hours after transfer. Our results suggest that there may be a previously unappreciated barrier to successful human nuclear transfer, and that future studies could focus on the requirements for genome activation.
    Nature Communications 10/2011; 2:488. DOI:10.1038/ncomms1503 · 10.74 Impact Factor
  • Cell stem cell 03/2012; 10(3):239-40. DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2012.02.001 · 22.15 Impact Factor