Thursday, November 01, 2007

StemLifeLine: No to Third Party, Spare Embryo Decisions

Ana Krtolica, chief executive officer of StemLifeLine Inc. of San Carlos, Ca., offers the following on our item concerning the story in the San Francisco Chronicle about her firm. Among other things, the story said the company had triggered protests from both supporters and opponents of embryonic stem cell research.
"StemLifeLine is a life sciences company that offers individuals who have undergone in vitro fertilization, a unique option to develop stem cell lines from their surplus stored embryos.

"As former academic stem cell researchers, we learned that IVF patients who donated embryos for research often inquired about the possibility to access the stem cells derived from their embryos. This inspired us to develop the novel StemLifeLine service - the first of its kind in the world - for IVF patients who wish to develop their own stem cell lines.

"At StemLifeLine, we believe that it is up to IVF patients and not any third party to decide what should be done with their spare embryos. These patients invested financially, emotionally and physically into embryo generation and it is their choice, their genetic material and their responsibility to make the best decision for themselves and their families.

"It is also important to note that clients that choose to use our service may still benefit research while developing their own stem cell lines. The two options are not mutually exclusive. As researchers, the founders and staff at StemLifeLine are personally committed to supporting biomedical research and stem cell research, in particular. Therefore, we provide an option for clients to donate an additional portion of their stem cell lines to any non-profit research facility of their choice at no charge. However, this decision is left entirely up to each patient.

"Finally, there has been speculation about our pricing. Stem cell derivation is an expensive process that requires a high level of scientific expertise, state-of-the-art equipment and significant time investment. Nevertheless, we are able to provide this service for a price comparable to cord blood stem cell banking.

"To conclude, without having personal experience with the IVF process, none of us can fully understand how difficult it is to make a decision regarding the allocation of surplus embryos. Our goal at StemLifeLine is to offer an additional option to IVF patients and it is up to these patients and their families to make the best decision based on their individual needs and priorities."

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