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Stem Cell Research


Articles

Overview of International Human Embryonic Stem Cell Laws

Appendix E

Winter 2012

Stem Cell Research Funding: Policy and Law

Appendix D

Winter 2012

Ethical Considerations Regarding Stem Cell Research

Appendix C

Winter 2012

The Promise of Stem Cell Therapies

Appendix B

Winter 2012

The Science of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Appendix A

Winter 2012

The Stem Cell Debates

Lessons for Science and Politics

Winter 2012

Putting Health in Perspective

Summer 2012Yuval Levin on how prioritizing health shapes our politics

The Future of Cell Biology

Fall 2008

John McCain and the Stem Cell Debate

Winter 2008

The Electoral Politics of Stem Cells

Democratic Myths of 2006, GOP Realities of 2008

Winter 2007Yuval Levin

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Blog Posts

The Embryo Dilemma

October 6, 2008

Los Angeles Times health reporter Shari Roan has a terrific series on “the politics of embryos.” (Bonus: One piece quotes The New Atlantis’s own Yuval Levin.) 

Six years of frustration and heartbreak. That’s how Gina Rathan recalls her attempts to become pregnant.

Finally, she and her husband, Cheddi, conceived a daughter, now 3, through in vitro fertilization. About a year later, she became pregnant with a second child, naturally. Their family was complete.

Then, a year ago, the Fountain Valley couple received a bill reminding them that their infertility journey wasn’t quite over. They owed $750 to preserve three frozen embryos they’d created but hadn’t used....

Finally, the couple paid for three more years of cryopreservation.

“I think about the embryos every day,” Rathan says. “I am their mother. I see them as my own children. They are the DNA from my husband and I. It’s something I worry about, especially when the three years is over and I have to make a decision again.” 

ALSO IN THE LAT: How easy is it to donate embryos to research? Or for adoption? Embryo legislation, state by state.

“One way or another someone makes money off the dead.”

September 29, 2008

Your humble blogger has a review in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard about Donna Dickenson’s chilling exposé, Body Shopping: The Economy Fuelled by Flesh and Blood. In the piece, I discuss some of the more grisly practices of the global trade in human flesh and how we can rein in the worst of the body-snatchers:

Body Shopping describes a science that has become positively vampiric in its insatiable appetite for human tissue and organs, sometimes outright stealing the raw material it needs. A veritable black market in human flesh has been established, with each part individually appraised and priced: “Hand, $350-$850, Brain, $500-$600, Eviscerated torso, $1,100-$1,290.” A whole cadaver can fetch up to $20,000. The uses to which this tissue is put are no less gruesome. Bone dust from stolen cadavers might be found in your dental work. The collagen used to plump a starlet’s lips is likely derived from the cells of an infant’s foreskin. The “secret ingredient” in the various beauty treatments marketed to Russian women? Aborted fetuses from Ukraine.

“One way or another someone makes money off the dead,” one proud body snatcher declared, even as he pleaded guilty to over 60 counts of mutilation of human remains, and embezzlement. The entrepreneurial spirit cannot be tamed, it would seem, especially in so lucrative a venture as body shopping.

RELATED: I interviewed Professor Dickenson about her book for Conceptions here.

IVF: The Next 30 Years

July 18, 2008Nature magazine's July issue has a special feature on the 30th anniversary of IVF. After discussing the legacy of IVF (subscrip. req'd), Nature asked a group of scientists what the next 30 years of IVF research will look like. Among the predictions:

  • Scientists will be able to create sperm and egg cells for anyone. Using sperm and egg cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, scientists will end infertility. Newborns and hundred-year-olds could become parents.
  • Embryo research will become a "fact of life": "They would become objects and would be used as objects...Maybe 20–30 years from now we'll read in newspapers that someone made 20,000 embryos and studied their development, and we'll decide it's OK."
  • IVF for less than $100: Cheap IVF will soon be made available in developing countries.
  • Healthy babies will be assured with the use of "genetic cassettes." Scientists will insert the cassettes into embryos to correct for diseases like Huntington's.
  • But people will still have sex: "IVF is expensive and uncomfortable. The old-fashioned way is cheaper and more fun and that won't change in 30 years."
  • Artificial wombs will change the abortion debate: "If an artificial womb were developed, the government could pass a law that requires people who have a termination of pregnancy to put the fetus into one of these wombs."
  • Alert the trial lawyers: There will be litigation over the health of IVF babies. "With the increasing availability of IVF, there will be more emphasis on safety. Not enough is known about the long-term health of the Louise Browns of this world — if there is a problem, it will be unexpected."

ART in the News

IVF is not so easy, fertility coaching, and more

July 2, 2008

ART in the News

Cloning the dead, three-parent embryos, and more

June 9, 2008

Must-Read Posts

May 27, 2008

I'm still recovering from the long holiday weekend, hence the non-existent posting of the last few days. Fortunately, other bloggers were not so lazy. Here are a few must-read posts:

ART in the News: Weekend Round-Up Edition

"Frankenstein Science," Quadruplets, A Gene for Infertility, and More

May 27, 2008

ART in the News: International Edition

Infertility Awareness Week, the HFEA, and more

May 21, 2008