Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Using Embryos to Put Fertility First
From The New York Times:
As director of Stanford’s Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education, Renee A. Reijo Pera, 49, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, works at ground zero of the controversy over human embryonic stem cells. She uses human embryos to create new cells that will eventually be coaxed into becoming eggs and sperm. In other research, she has also identified one of the first genes associated with human infertility. The questions and answers below are edited from a two-hour conversation and a subsequent telephone interview.
Q. IN SPEECHES, YOU SAY THAT STEM CELL RESEARCH SHOULD BE THOUGHT OF AS A WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUE. WHY?
A. Because in my lab, we’re using stem cell research to look for ways to make fertility treatments safer and more rational. Considering all the heartbreak and expense of infertility treatments, this sort of research is something I believe women have a big stake in defending. Right now, we don’t fully know what a healthy embryo in a Petri dish looks like. Because of this, I.V.F. clinics often insert multiple embryos into women to try to increase the odds of a successful implantation. Patients frequently have multiple births or devastating miscarriages. Half the time, the embryos don’t make it. If we could figure out what a healthy embryo looked like and what the best media was to grow it in, we’d cut down on that.
Posted by Azra Raza at 03:38 AM | Permalink