Sunday, December 11, 2005

Zach Hall Critiques Sacramento Bee Editorial

Zach Hall, president of the California stem cell agency, has responded to a Sacramento Bee editorial involving human eggs and cash.

In a piece printed in the opinion section of The Bee on Sunday, Hall said The Bee editorial Nov. 25 "gives the impression" that CIRM "has only recently examined these issues, (when) in fact we have been working on them long before the recent controversy in South Korea."

He noted that Prop. 71 prohibits "compensation" for eggs and requires "informed consent" for donations. Hall adds that egg donation has been the subject of considerable discussion at CIRM meetings and will be the topic of an upcoming session.

"As a final point," he wrote, "I am perplexed that The Bee cites figures for the efficiency of establishing cell lines that The Bee acknowledges to be out of date. The most recent work (Science, May 2005) shows that, on average, only 16 eggs (the approximate number obtained from a single donor) are required to develop a stem cell line, a figure that is 15-fold fewer than the number cited in the editorial. With continued advances, the number of eggs required will continue to fall and, in time, other methods, not requiring egg donation, may become practicable."

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