Embryonic stem cell research, ethics, frozen embryos, IVF


In the United States, there are over 400,000 cryogenically frozen embryos (Hoffman, et al., 2003). These frozen embryos are almost exclusively produced from in vitro fertilization (IVF) and related treatments. Much debate centers on the fate of these embryos. Among the current options available to the parents of leftover embryos are embryo adoption, keeping the embryos frozen for future use, destroying them, faux-implantations to let the embryos „naturally‟ die (Grady, 2008), and donating them for human embryonic stem cell (hES cell) research. While not all of the embryos are destroyed, many are, and it is wasteful for those embryos to simply be discarded. With the consent of the parents, researchers should use the embryos slated to be destroyed or discarded for the purpose of realizing the great potential they posses, rather than letting them be wasted.



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