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    ABSTRACT: This article reports selected findings from a project investigating the question: 'Does volunteering for the 'Newcastle egg sharing for research scheme', in which IVF patients receive reduced fees when providing 50% of their eggs, entail any social and ethical costs?' The focus is on women's views of the role of the reduced fees in persuading them to volunteer. The study fills a gap in knowledge, as there have been no previous investigations of women's experiences of providing eggs for research under such circumstances. This was an interview-based study, designed to gain understanding of the volunteers' perspectives. The main findings are that the interviewees' primary goal is to have a baby; they volunteered to provide eggs for research in order to access cheaper treatment in a context where private IVF fees are high, there is insufficient state funding, and providing eggs for other couples' treatment was deemed unacceptable. Interviewees welcomed the scheme, but were not volunteering entirely under circumstances of their choosing; they would prefer not to provide eggs during their own IVF treatment and under certain circumstances change their minds about so doing. In conclusion, reduced fees, although an important factor, do not act as an undue inducement in persuading volunteers to act against their own interests.
    Human Fertility 08/2013; DOI:10.3109/14647273.2013.803164 · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: After the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) in 2007, the pressure to commercialize women's eggs for stem cell research could have been expected to lessen. However, the pressure to harvest human eggs in large quantities for research has not diminished; rather, it has taken different directions, for example in germline mitochondrial research. Yet there has been little acknowledgement of these technologies' need for human eggs, the possible risks to women and the ethical issues concerning potential exploitation. Rather, there has been a renewed campaign to legalize payment for eggs in research, although the actual scientific advances are at best modest. This article shows why a market in women's eggs is ethically problematic in terms of the doctor's duty to do no harm and the limitations of 'informed' consent.
    01/2013; 19(1):18-29.
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    ABSTRACT: The transfer of somatic cell nuclei into oocytes can give rise to pluripotent stem cells that are consistently equivalent to embryonic stem cells, holding promise for autologous cell replacement therapy. Although methods to induce pluripotent stem cells from somatic cells by transcription factors are widely used in basic research, numerous differences between induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells have been reported, potentially affecting their clinical use. Because of the therapeutic potential of diploid embryonic stem-cell lines derived from adult cells of diseased human subjects, we have systematically investigated the parameters affecting efficiency of blastocyst development and stem-cell derivation. Here we show that improvements to the oocyte activation protocol, including the use of both kinase and translation inhibitors, and cell culture in the presence of histone deacetylase inhibitors, promote development to the blastocyst stage. Developmental efficiency varied between oocyte donors, and was inversely related to the number of days of hormonal stimulation required for oocyte maturation, whereas the daily dose of gonadotropin or the total number of metaphase II oocytes retrieved did not affect developmental outcome. Because the use of concentrated Sendai virus for cell fusion induced an increase in intracellular calcium concentration, causing premature oocyte activation, we used diluted Sendai virus in calcium-free medium. Using this modified nuclear transfer protocol, we derived diploid pluripotent stem-cell lines from somatic cells of a newborn and, for the first time, an adult, a female with type 1 diabetes.
    Nature 04/2014; 510(7506). DOI:10.1038/nature13287 · 42.35 Impact Factor