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Stem Cell Funding Bill Headed For Bush Veto In Spite of Plenitude of Frozen Embryos

The House of Representatives has just approved legislation to increase federal funding of stem cell research. It’s already passed in the Senate, so now it goes to President Bush for his inevitable veto. He’s made it clear that it’s a dead issue as far as he’s concerned, and so far, neither chamber has been able to muster the two-thirds majority necessary to override his veto.

Supporters of the bill have promised to keep introducing the legislation over and over until it’s successful, but that may take a new president. It’s an emotional issue that stirs passion on both sides, and the discussion is expected to become only livelier with the approach of the presidential election.

In related research, scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Duke University Medical Center recently found that sixty percent of infertile couples would donate their unused embryos for stem cell research. People undergoing fertility treatments may end up with from one to twenty unused frozen embryos by the end of the process.

The survey of over a thousand such couples has revealed that more than half of them would probably donate their unused embryos for stem cell research. In fact, they are much more likely to donate their unused embryos for research, especially stem cell research, than to give them to another couple or to simply destroy them.

There are approximately 400,000 frozen embryos already stored in the United States, so if only a quarter of those were actually donated for stem cell research, there would be 100,000 available. Previous estimates put the number of available embryos at only about 11,000.

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Source: Chicago Tribune; EurekAlert

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