June 20, 2007 / 8:18 PM / 13 years ago

Survey sees support for embryos in stem cell work

An embryo in an undated image. About 60 percent of people with frozen embryos stored at U.S. fertility clinics would be willing to donate them for use in human stem cell research, according to a survey released on Wednesday. REUTERS/File

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 60 percent of people with frozen embryos stored at U.S. fertility clinics would be willing to donate them for use in human stem cell research, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The survey, made public on the day U.S. President George W. Bush vetoed legislation to expand federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, tracked the attitudes of the people in a position to donate these embryos to create stem cell batches, or lines, for research.

These embryos are created at fertility clinics for in vitro fertilization procedures to help infertile couples have babies. Typically, more embryos are created than are needed, and many are simply destroyed after the donors no longer want them.

Researchers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore questioned 1,020 people who have embryos stored at nine fertility centers in California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Sixty percent were willing to donate their frozen embryos for use in stem cell research, the researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. About 28 percent said they would be willing to donate embryos to improve cloning techniques for medical science.

Only 22 percent of those surveyed were willing to donate the embryos to other couples for adoption to make babies — something Bush has advocated as a better use of the embryos.

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