Canada Committee Delays Embryonic Stem Cell Research Project

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Committee Delays Embryonic Stem Cell Research Project Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 24, 2006

Ottawa, Canada ( — A Canadian health committee has put a controversial project involving embryonic stem cell research on hold. Researchers in Toronto and London, Ontario were hoping to spend more than $530,000 on a project involving the destruction of days-old unborn children to obtain their embryonic stem cells for research.

However, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) put a hold on the approval needed to get the project off the ground.

Researcher forwarded the proposal to CIHR last feel to receive permission to destroy human embryos from fertility clinics, but the agency has delayed the decision until at least the end of June.

The Vancouver Sun says the scientists want to use human embryos donated by people who have had infertility treatments and have "leftover" embryos they won’t be using.

The project is the first to come up for a review since Canadian bioethicists called for a moratorium last year on destroying human embryos for research. Not entirely motivated by the same right to life concerns that guide pro-life advocates, they say more safeguards needed to be in place to protect donors.

The Sun reports that CIHR document show the agency is proceeding with a review of the project despite the call for the moratorium. It wants to see more documentation from the scientists involved showing the research will be done ethically and protect donors, before signing off on it.

Another concern in Canada has been that women are using the Internet to sell their eggs for research.

One of the dangers of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research is pressuring women to sell their eggs to researchers. The buying and selling of a woman’s eggs could easily lead to the exploitation of poor women.

However, news reports from Canada find women are using a loophole in the nation’s law prohibiting the buying and selling of eggs to advertise selling them.

Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act, approved in March 2004, prohibits the sale of human genetic materials. The law, apparently, does not prohibit advertising the sale of the materials, such as a woman’s eggs.

Le Journal de Montreal conducted interviews with six women who have advertised their eggs for sale on the Internet. One woman was in financial troubles and another wanted additional money to help her buy a house.