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Cindy Maddera

I know I shouldn’t do it, but I …can’t…stop…my…fingers…from…typing. Entries like these attract the crazies and I inevitably have to shut down comments. But I can’t help it. Bush vetoing HR 810 is big news in the science world, big news that sucks. HR 810 is the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and would increase federal funding for stem cell research and expand funding to research with surplus stem cells from fertility clinics. Many of you may recall that in 2001 Bush allowed federal funding of research on stem cells, but only on the 78 stem cell lines that already existed (not embryonic stem cells). Of the 78 lines, only 22 of those were viable and many of those viable ones are contaminated with mouse feeder cells.

There are almost half a million frozen embryos in the U.S. More embryos are harvested and frozen than what is needed of an ivf treatment. So there’s this really big surplus of embryos in limbo. Well, they’re not really embryos, but really what is called a “pre-embryoâ€?. A fertilized egg is not considered an embryo until after two weeks of development. Pre-embryos are frozen way before this stage. HR 810 would require that embryos be donated by fertility clinics only if the patients didn’t need them any more and that the patients provided a written consent form and did not receive compensation for the donation.

There’s so much I can rant and rave about this, but it’s all preaching to the choir. It comes down to the fact that we have someone who doesn’t have a freakin’ clue about the issue, yet has the power to regulate it. Next stop: imprisonment of scientists and witch hunts.