Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research: Workshop Report (2007)Board on Life Sciences
Stem cell research has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many health problems including chronic heart disease, Type I diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and spinal chord injuries. This research, however, would require a steady supply of stem cells, particularly human embryonic stem cells, which are created from eggs-or oocytes-harvested from the ovaries of female donors. The egg donation process is not without its risks to the donors. At the request of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the National Academies held a workshop in September 2006 to discuss what is known about these risks, what needs to be known, and what can be done to minimize them. This workshop summary includes discussions of the comparative risks of donating eggs for research versus donating eggs for reproductive purposes, and the likelihood of experiencing medical problems, psychological harm, or complications resulting from the surgical extraction of eggs.