Stem cells can be found inside embryos about five days after the embryos have been formed by the union of sperm and egg. These stem cells have the unique ability to form any kind of human cell. Researchers within the CSCT are generating new human embryonic stem cell lines from normal embryos and from embryos known to have genetic abnormalities, like: Huntington’s disease, spinal muscular atrophy or hemophilia B, to name a few. Studies using these genetically normal and abnormal human embryonic stem cell lines will aid in our understanding of disease progression, in testing treatments, and in discovering new treatments and cures.
In the United States, only embryos that have been produced for reproductive purposes, and are no longer needed for such, may be donated for human embryonic stem cell research. Embryos must be freely donated by the couple who sought reproductive treatment and who also contributed the eggs and sperm to produce the embryos. All embryo donations are made without compensation.
If you are interested in learning more about the steps for donating embryos for human embryonic stem cell research at the University of Michigan’s CSCT, click on the appropriate link below:
- Embryos previously generated for reproductive purposes that have been frozen and are no long needed for reproductive purposes.
Donation of Frozen Embryos No Longer Needed for Reproduction
- Embryos that are found to have genetic anomalies and are not going to be used for reproduction. If you are having genetic diagnosis or screening of preimplantation embryos, and are considering donation of genetically abnormal embryos for human embryonic stem cell research.
Donation of Genetically Abnormal Embryos