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Some Clarification on Fertility Science, Please

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Some Clarification on Fertility Science, Please

Postby JTWood » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:46 am

With all of the hubbub going on right now about the embryonic stem cell research stuff, I've been hearing lots of things. One of most common things I'm hearing sounds something like this line from CNN:

"The measure, which the House of Representatives passed in May 2005, allows couples who have had embryos frozen for fertility treatments to donate them to researchers rather than let them be destroyed."

Here's where I need clarification. Is it common practice for most fertility techniques to use a "shotgun" approach to fertilization? I was under the impression that any extracorporeal technique simply fertilized one egg at a time until a successful fertilization occured. At that time, I presumed, the fertilized egg was reinserted into the womb to allow the pregnancy to be carried like normal.

What I'm starting to feel now is that the common technique is to go ahead and fertilize a bunch of eggs at once, simply discarding the ones that aren't needed (or storing them for later, though they, too, will probably be destroyed).

Is my new take on things right?
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Re: Some Clarification on Fertility Science, Please

Postby RugbyD » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:31 am

JTWood wrote:Is my new take on things right?

that is my understanding
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Postby acsguitar » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:33 am

Good post ;-D
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Postby JTWood » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:53 am

acsguitar wrote:Good post ;-D

Well, you probalby won't like where I'm going with it, because I think what I described above is just as wrong as what Bush just vetoed. I just wasn't sure that what I described above was actually happening.
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Postby 5 » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:07 pm

JTWood wrote:
acsguitar wrote:Good post ;-D

Well, you probalby won't like where I'm going with it, because I think what I described above is just as wrong as what Bush just vetoed. I just wasn't sure that what I described above was actually happening.


Yeah, I think Bush wants to save the goo.
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Postby acsguitar » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:09 pm

JTWood wrote:
acsguitar wrote:Good post ;-D

Well, you probalby won't like where I'm going with it, because I think what I described above is just as wrong as what Bush just vetoed. I just wasn't sure that what I described above was actually happening.


I'm just saying its a good post to get clarification. I still like ya even if I disagree with you. That goes for everyone. ;-D
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Re: Some Clarification on Fertility Science, Please

Postby Coppermine » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:45 pm

JTWood wrote:Here's where I need clarification. Is it common practice for most fertility techniques to use a "shotgun" approach to fertilization? I was under the impression that any extracorporeal technique simply fertilized one egg at a time until a successful fertilization occured. At that time, I presumed, the fertilized egg was reinserted into the womb to allow the pregnancy to be carried like normal.


What you described, JT, is what is affectionately referred to in politics as "fetus farming." When it became apparent in congress that Bush was going to veto his first bill, the one increasing federal funding for stem cell research, Congressional republicans jumped into action and introduced a bill that would ban the above practice. This way, the president would have a bill to sign and veto to go with the stem cell research. Interestingly, the bill hit some kind of snag, but I'm not sure what came of it.

Most of the embryos used, or that were going to be used for stem cell research, were donated. Some are left over from in-vitro fertility treatments. Basically, the way it worked, federal dollars could only be used on embryos which were not specifically created and harvested for scientific research; rather, there are many frozen embryos available that will potentially be destroyed anyway. So the harvesting you mentioned was actually not a practice that qualified for federal dollars under the first bill that permitted stem cell research as signed by President Clinton in 1999.

This new bill does not alloy for any federal dollars to be used for stem cell research, even on the embryos that currently exist from methods other than the farming method.
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Re: Some Clarification on Fertility Science, Please

Postby acsguitar » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:57 pm

Coppermine wrote:
This new bill does not alloy for any federal dollars to be used for stem cell research, even on the embryos that currently exist from methods other than the farming method.


Interesting. So basically Bush would rather see them destroyed then used to help save lives.
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Re: Some Clarification on Fertility Science, Please

Postby Coppermine » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:11 pm

acsguitar wrote:
Coppermine wrote:
This new bill does not alloy for any federal dollars to be used for stem cell research, even on the embryos that currently exist from methods other than the farming method.


Interesting. So basically Bush would rather see them destroyed then used to help save lives.


Well, the idea that Bush puts forth is that they could be lives; whether or not they actually will be is besides the point. Some people adopt abandoned, frozen embryos, but there certainly are many that don't end up anywhere. I believe the very existence of embryos leftover from invitro fertility treatments is what sparked the idea to do stemcell research in the first place in 1995. It was also recommended by the scientific community that they be allowed permitted federal funding for performing research on embryos specifically created for experimentation. That was the true controversy, and Clinton allowed for federal funding on pre-existing embryos, but not for embryos harvested specifically for research purposes. This new bill cuts funding for stem cell research altogether.

While I understand the moral and ethical concerns in embryonic harvesting, I do not see how the potential for dozens of debilitating and terminal diseases to be cured through this research should be encumbered by a lack of funding for research on pre-existing embryos.
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Re: Some Clarification on Fertility Science, Please

Postby emb0lus » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:59 pm

JTWood wrote:With all of the hubbub going on right now about the embryonic stem cell research stuff, I've been hearing lots of things. One of most common things I'm hearing sounds something like this line from CNN:

"The measure, which the House of Representatives passed in May 2005, allows couples who have had embryos frozen for fertility treatments to donate them to researchers rather than let them be destroyed."

Here's where I need clarification. Is it common practice for most fertility techniques to use a "shotgun" approach to fertilization? I was under the impression that any extracorporeal technique simply fertilized one egg at a time until a successful fertilization occured. At that time, I presumed, the fertilized egg was reinserted into the womb to allow the pregnancy to be carried like normal.

What I'm starting to feel now is that the common technique is to go ahead and fertilize a bunch of eggs at once, simply discarding the ones that aren't needed (or storing them for later, though they, too, will probably be destroyed).

Is my new take on things right?


..sort of. A bunch of eggs are fertilized with sperm then like 5-10 fertilized eggs are inserted into the womb. The remainder are then 'frozen' to try it again if they don't implant and become a fetus. This is why many women who go through in-vitro fertilization attempts end up with multiple babies. Many times though, none of the embryos take, so they try again. Now, the question is, what happens with the leftover embryos when a couple get triplets and say, 'no more babies for us, thanks'. Some are donated to other women trying to get pregnant, some want to donate them for research etc..
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