Misrepresentations, breaches of trust and trafficking of human oocytes are words used to describe the meltdown-break-up fiasco between Dr. Gerald Shatten of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the Pacific Fertility Center of San Francisco and Woo Suk Hwang of Seoul South Korea. Carl T. Hall, science writer of the SF Chronicle has another great piece out today on this story. I am becoming a fan of Hall’s as he is actually reporting some great facts. Fact number one: he actually calls what these guys were up to “human cloning”. Wow! Seems our guy Shatten and Philip Chenette of Pacific Fertility Clinic had some problems with Hwang’s unethical treatment of female egg donors. But no worries, Dr. Arnold Kriegstein, head of the UCSF stem cell program said, “The science will go forward despite this problem.” So despite this problem, of unethical treatment of women to get their eggs so we can do designer human cloning research, the science must go on! How about, before the science goes on, we need to make sure it is ethical and safe??
More concerning though is the fact that when Woo Suk Hwang opened his phone lines to receive customers in search of his holy grail he received thousands of contacts, so much so his website server shut down. As long as there is a market for the unethical, commodification of human life, these guys will have business.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.