Monday, July 6, 2009

NIH releases final guidelines on human embryonic stem cell research

On July 6, 2009, the web site of the National Institutes of Health posted the final "National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research." These guidelines allow federal tax dollars to support research on human embryonic stem cell lines obtained from human embryos at in-vitro fertilization clinics.

The guidelines fail to require IVF clinics to inform couples considering donating their embryonic children to research about the possibility of embryo adoption if the clinic doesn’t offer any embryo adoption services. This means numerous couples with frozen embryos will never be fully informed about their options.

These guidelines follow President Barack Obama's March 9 executive order overturning President Bush’s limits on using federal tax dollars to fund research on new embryonic stem cell lines. Human embryonic stem cell research has not helped treat one human being and necessitates the killing of human embryos.

While President Obama and some researchers are focused on killing human embryos, others are working hard to find ways to avoid the ethical dilemma of killing human embryos for their stem cells. To date, more than 70 treatments from adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells have been used to help patients.