California College Doing Human Cloning, Embryonic Research Gets $16M Gift

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

California College Doing Human Cloning, Embryonic Research Gets $16M Gift Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 9, 2006

San Francisco, CA ( — A California college that has recently begun conducting human cloning to produce human embryos to kill for research purposes has received a $16 million dollar donation from sound pioneer Ray Dolby to build a new stem cell research center.

Dolby gave the gift to the University of California, San Francisco to be able to build a center that could conduct research without the use of federal funds. That’s necessary because President Bush has placed limits on the use of taxpayer funds to pay for research that destroys human life.

The center will be renamed and called the Institute for Regeneration Medicine to get away from the politically charged term stem cell research.

"The discovery of stem cells was a wonderful thing but, unfortunately, this name by itself does not seem to very well suggest what is happening or how," Dolby told the Associated Press, referring to the renaming of the stem cell center.

"Moreover, the term ‘stem cell’ seems to have acquired a negative meaning with some people," Dolby added.

More money is needed to be able to complete the new center and USCF did not disclose the total amount necessary.

This is the second time Dolby has fronted funds for the controversial research. Last year he gave the state’s stem cell research agency $5 million to pay its bills.

The agency’s attempt to sell bonds to pay for its donations for human cloning and embryonic stem cell research was halted due to two lawsuits filed against it by pro-life and taxpayers groups over violations of conflict of interest and state ethics laws.

This week, reported on how scientists at USCF quietly resumed a human cloning project they abandoned in 2001.

UCSF scientists will use private funding to obtain human eggs from fertility clinics for their studies. Led by Renee Reijo Pera, the research team will attempt to clone a human embryo from the eggs and destroy the days-old unborn children they may create for their stem cells.

Reijo Pera says his team will start with human eggs deemed by fertility clinics to be unable to successfully create a pregnancy. He said that if those eggs proved unsuccessful in creating a human embryo for research, he will seek women to donate their eggs for the studies.

However, egg donations bring up a host of ethical issues, including paying women for their eggs or the coercion of poor women. The egg extraction procedure is significantly painful and comes with a number of potential medical complications.

Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Sun Sentinel newspaper that scientists should not be recruiting women to donate their eggs.

"They could be made sick for what the researchers admit that for many years will simply be a scientific experiment," he said.