The legal and ethical issues surrounding embryonic stem cells are complex.
While the human embryo provides one promising approach, others are worth considering at least as complementary approaches.
Unfertilized human eggs can be activated using parthenogenesis to produce human pluripotent stem cells called human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSC) that have potential therapeutic value. hpSC carry the potential to alleviate at least some of the ethical concerns surrounding embryonic stem cell research, including the harming of a viable human embryo.
However hpSC present unique ethical challenges of their own, including creating an oocyte procurement process that is acceptable to bioethical oversight and review committees in the US and overseas.
This talk will briefly present the technical issues involved with creating hpSC. Points to be discussed will include the ethical issues surrounding hpSC in relation to other methods of deriving pluripotent stem cells, as well as the experience of International Stem Cell Corporation in setting up an oocyte procurement process that meets legal requirements and satisfies ethical considerations in both Russia and California.