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HandsOffOurOvaries Newsletter, April 2007

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CONTENTS:


·  MEDIA -

·  Video: Trading on the Female Body

·  Egg harvesting flyer download

·  ACTIVITIES -

·  HandsOff in Australia

·  HandsOff in California

·  NEWS -

·  New Guidelines to protect egg donors

·  The student and the ovum

·  ARTICLES -

·  Dolly's Legacy

·  Stem cells from testes


Notice Regarding Senate Bill 5: HandsOffOurOvaries seeks a moratorium on egg harvesting for research cloning and takes no official position at this time on the current stem cell research bill before Congress, SB 5. Comments that may suggest otherwise represent the views of the individuals making them and do not constitute official HandsOff policy.

MEDIA:

Video: Trading on the Female Body

If you cannot see the video, view online
or download to view (Quicktime file),

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Egg Harvesting flyer download: FREE RESOURCE TO DOWNLOAD and distribute. Handbill concerning the risks associated with egg harvesting for cloning research, download

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ACTIVITIES:

HandsOff in Australia: From our HandsOff Colleagues in Australia, Renate Klein, Melinda Tankard Reist and Monique Baldwin: On 17 April 2007, Australian HandsOffOurOvaries joined other women's organisations (FINRRAGE and Women's Forum Australia) and two Labor Members of the Victorian Parliament (Christine Campbell and Tammy Lombato) on the steps of Parliament in Melbourne to protest against the Amendment Bill 2007 of the Infertility Treatment Act to allow SCNT cloning in the State of Victoria. Wearing Hands Off t-shirts and displaying empty egg cartons, the message of EGGSPLOITATION was made loud and clear. We distributed HandsOff handbills concerning the risks of egg harvesting; and speeches by some parliamentarians across parties reflected the understanding that embryo production
for research is harmful to women's health and lives. Indeed, the Parliamentary Committee for the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) had expressed its concern that the Bill raises human rights issues. Nevertheless, the prevailing view of parliamentarians was that 'hope' must be upheld and hence embryonic stem cell cloning should be allowed. In a conscience vote, the Bill was accepted by 58 to 25 votes. It will now move to the Upper House where numbers will be tighter and hopefully the deliberations of SARC will be taken into account. But it is clear that politicians from all parties hope that by pushing through this Bill, stem cell researchers in Victoria will be the first in the world to develop the elusive stem cells from SCNT embryos. Women, once more, lose out.

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HandsOff in California: On April 6, HandsOffOur- Ovaries Chair, Diane Beeson spoke at a Stem Cell Ethics Conference presented by the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology at the Salk Institute in San Diego, CA. Other speakers included prominent stem cell researchers, bioethicists and representatives of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Professor Beeson’s laid out the case for a moratorium on egg harvesting for cloning research. She also addressed the limitations of the Institute of Medicine report, “Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research.” This report is being used to justify asking healthy young women to donate eggs for cloning research; but as Professor Beeson argued, the document does not provide evidence that the practice is safe. In fact, it does the opposite. Professor Beeson’s statements about both the lack of appropriate follow-up of egg donors and the dangers of egg harvesting went unchallenged. Several participants did, however, object to her use of the term “cloning research.” It seems that proponents of cloning technology are as concerned about avoiding public understanding of the connection between egg harvesting and embryonic cloning as they are with denying risks to women’s health posed by egg harvesting. The text of her talk will be posted on the HandsOff website soon.

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NEWS:

The HandsOff Newsletter features articles concerning policies, controversies, and ethics relevant to egg harvesting for cloning research; this may include articles reporting medical information learned from the IVF industry. Similarly, articles concerning global egg trafficking in the IVF industry are relevant and may be included since the increased demand for eggs for research will likely build on these already ongoing global arrangements. Additionally, as a service, the Newsletter may include articles concerning biotech patenting, animal-human hybrid creation (chimerism), stem cell research and reproductive cloning in so far as they may be relevant to considerations of research cloning.

New Guidelines to protect egg donors: Carol Nader, April 12, 2007, WOMEN should not be paid to donate their eggs for medical research, and should be fully informed of the risks of the invasive procedure, according to national draft guidelines. Read entire article

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The student and the ovum: The lack of autonomy and informed consent in trading genes for tuition, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 2004, July 12, Thomas J Papadimos and Alexa T Papadimos

ABSTRACT: Rising tuition costs have forced university students to become creative in finding ways to fund their education. Some female university students have decided that ova donation may be an acceptable alternative in which to pay for their tuition. This alternative presents itself because of the insufficient number of ova available for assisted reproduction and emerging stem cell technologies. Young female university students are encouraged by Internet sources and respectable electronic and print media to donate their ova in the cause of assisted reproduction for monetary compensation. While university students generally exhibit autonomy, the constraining influence of their financial predicament compromises the elements of informed consent (voluntariness, competence, capacity, understanding, and disclosure) as to their making an autonomous decision in regard to egg donation. Thus, any moral possibility of giving informed consent is negated. Informed consent can only occur through autonomy. A female university student in need of financial resources to pay for her education cannot make an autonomous choice to trade her genes for tuition. Donated ova are not only needed for assisted reproduction, but for stem cell technologies. While the long-term health of women who donate their ova is of concern (a potential risk of cancer after long term use of ovulation induction), of equal concern is the possibility of a growth in the trade of ova targeting third world and Eastern European women where the precedence for autonomy and informed consent is not well established.

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ARTICLES:

Dolly's Legacy: Dolly’s Legacy: ten year’s on, mammalian cloning is moving forward with central societal issues remaining unresolved. Yet human reproductive cloning seems inevitable. NATURE, vol. 445, Issue 7130, 22 February 2007. Download Nature article - PDF

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Stem cells from testes: On Friday 24 March, researchers at the Georg August University of Göttingen in Germany announced they had found a source of reprogrammable cells in the testes of adult mice. By Sunday morning, more than ten companies had e-mailed senior team member Gerd Hasenfuss about collaborating on future work, Nature Vol 440,30 March 2006, Download Nature article - PDF

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