Well now for something a little different. As this is an all-encompassing directory, intended to cover all aspects of egg donation, I thought it was time to broach the subject of egg donation for stem cell research.
This topical issue has a personal side for me. Over the past 6-7 years I have seen my uncle’s sight go from meaning he can hold down a full time job to more recent years where he now no longer can differentiate between even light and dark. The only time there is any recognition in his vision is from a flash of lightning or close camera flash, beyond that his world is one of darkness. By the day of my wedding 5 years ago he was learning to walk with a white stick and met a very blurred version of my husband, since then I have had two children, neither of which he has seen. He has met them, and held them, but it makes me very sad to know he will never see their faces. Or will he?
Two years ago, at a family party, I was discussing with him at which point his sight now was. He explained about the total loss of light and dark and said his consultant had explained his only hope of seeing again was in stem cell research, and their work in photoreceptor replacement. In his forties my uncle doesn’t hold out much hope for this research to come to anything within his lifetime, researchers would disagree, but he is not worried. His concern is elsewhere. Both his children, now aged 18 and 21, have the same degenerative disease. At the moment they both lead happy lives, needing only to wear glasses, but he knows the time will come when the degeneration will start in force.
At the time, as interested as I was, the research aspect meant very little to me. Not so much was in the news, and I didn’t really even know what it entailed. Only in recent months has it hit the headlines. Up until now researchers have only really been able to use embryos from fertility treatment that were going to be discarded for whatever reason. Couples were being given the option to donate to research instead of seeing treasured embryos ‘go to waste’. These rules have recently been changed, and now donors can come forward to donate solely for the purpose of providing embryos for research.
This has obviously thrown up a lot of ethical debate. So, the first site I have found on the subject is more of a factual one. Although by its nature, the site must be biased towards the advantages of stem cell research, it is very clear and concise, and holds a lot of information.
My mind is not made up. Even with my personal take on things I’m not sure that I would be happy for an embryo, made with my eggs, holding my dna, to be destroyed by research being carried out on them. But, many babies are aborted at a far later stage, for much less powerful reasons. Donating my eggs could save someone’s sight, and change or even save a life. Decisions as big as this were never made to be easy.
The link … Alliance for Stem Cell Research