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Galpern, Emily. “Beyond Embryo Politics: Women’s Health and Dignity in Stem Cell Research.” National Women’s Health Network, April 2006.


In light of increased attention to stem cell research, Emily Galpern reveals that current debates about it overlook ethical issues. She posits that pro-life and pro-choice groups focus too much attention on whether or not research on eggs destroy human life and that “research cloning” (somatic cell nuclear transfer) poses short-term health risks caused by the hormones used in the egg extraction process. Galpern claims there are also long-term health risks because of a lack of information about its effects, including the increased risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. There is also the “potential for exploitation of economically vulnerable women, and the possibility of increased commodification of women’s bodies” (1), as the debate continues about whether or not and how much to compensate women for their eggs. Galpern ends the article by providing several policy recommendations to “protect the health and dignity of women” (3). She suggests that there needs to be legislation requiring oversight and regulation of research, finding alternative egg extraction methods, and establishing ethical and medical protections. This is an informative and clear introductory article, overviewing the current debate surrounding research cloning. Galpern provides a brief description of the science behind the SCNT, mentioning that it has recently become clear that the possibility of finding cures using this approach is not likely.  


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Political ideology   Assisted reproductive technology   Abortion   Ethics