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Scientists raise safety concerns over egg removal for IVF and stem cell research

11 August 2006

Doubts are being cast over the safety of egg removal for IVF and stem cell research. Scientists have argued that, since egg removal is still in its infancy, it is very hard to know whether the hormones women are required to take before the operation cause any long term side-effects. One study has suggested that women who take the hormone treatment for more than 12 months are 11 times more likely to develop ovarian or breast cancer than women who have not taken the treatments. No causal mechanism has been discovered from the drugs to cancers. [Nature, 9 August]

It has been revealed that the woman from Leicester, England, who died on Monday because of a mistake in an IVF operation may have suffered ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome which caused massive internal bleeding. The doctors involved in the operation are being questioned by the health authorities. [The Sun, 11 August]

The authorities in Patran, India, have arrested a man and his wife for performing illegal abortion on female foetuses. Mr Pitram Singh was accused after the discovery of the decomposing remains of female foetuses in his home's garden; the state of decomposition made it difficult to estimate the number. If convicted Mr Singh and his wife face up to 10 years in prison because performing abortions based on the sex of the foetus is illegal in India. [The Herald, 11 August]

Recent surveys in Thai fertility clinics and fertility treatment centres in hospitals have discovered that many of the patients are foreigners. Dr Phattaraphum Phophong estimated that up to 60% of his patients were not Thai, and that this might be due to the fact that IVF costs only one third of European and American prices, and that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is available more readily than in Europe. [Medical News Today, 10 August]

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