The Need for Human Eggs

Date: 05/31/2002

Because many eggs are needed for human reproductive cloning attempts, human experimentation could subject more women to adverse health effects – either from high levels of hormones used to stimulate egg production or because more women overall would be sought to donate eggs, which involves surgery with its own inherent risks.”

— “U.S. Policy-Makers Should Ban Human Reproductive Cloning,” Press Release, The National Academies, 1/18/02, announcing the publication of Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Reproductive Cloning.

What the report does NOT say, however, is that this objection to reproductivecloning applies equally to the type of cloning the panel and other cloning proponents recommend go forward — cloning to produce human embryos for experimentation and research.

Regardless of whether the intention is to produce an embryo for implantation in a womb or for use in research, the embryo is produced by the same process – somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) — which always requires an egg. Because this same process is used, the same problems in obtaining sufficient number of eggs, and the risks to donors, will also apply to cloning (SCNT) to produce embryos for research. In fact, the problems will only be greater, as presumably there will be a greater demand to clone embryos for research than for live birth.