The Erasure of Egg Providers in Stem Cell Science
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 189-212, 2013
25 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 10, 2014
In the discussion over cloning’s role in embryonic stem cell research, egg providers remain shadowy figures. A scandal in Korea eight years ago raised consciousness about the potential for coercion of egg providers in this branch of stem cell science and led to necessary debates about informed consent and compensation. But a more fundamental concern is the near erasure of egg providers from the discourse about why we should pursue stem cell research that involves cloning. In their zeal to win the race for stem cell supremacy, researchers who consider egg providers’ interests to be roadblocks to advancement are making efforts to disavow and obscure the reproductive aspects of research cloning. This paper argues that if the research cloning enterprise continues to depend upon the procurement and use of human oocytes, it should render a more transparent account of the contribution of egg providers to the endeavor.
Keywords: stem cell research, embryonic stem cells, embryo, egg donation, oocyte donation, compensation, altruism, research cloning, therapeutic cloning, reproductive cloning, somatic cell nuclear transfer, altered nuclear transfer, biomedical research, public funding, bioethics, feminism, feminist bioethics
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