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Stem Cell Research

Embryo Donation

For Donors

You have made embryos for fertility purposes and you no longer wish to use those embryos for reproduction. Or you may be making embryos for reproductive purposes that will be tested for genetic normalcy and those embryos found to have genetic abnormalities will not be used for implantation. You have been directed to this document because of your interest in freely donating embryos. You know and agree that any donation will be without compensation. No one has forced you to consider or make a donation. This document will aid you in thinking about and possibly donating those embryos for a human stem cell research project within the newly established MStem Cell Laboratories at the University of Michigan. The MStem Cell Laboratories is a group of physicians and scientists who are attempting to derive or develop new human embryonic stem cell lines for research on treatments and cures for medical diseases.

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. Investigators within the MStem Laboratories are interested in generating new human embryonic stem cell lines from normal embryos and from embryos known to have genetic abnormalities (eg. Huntington’s Disease or Spinal Muscular Atrophy). An embryonic stem cell line is a group of unspecialized cells that can be grown indefinitely in laboratory dishes and that can be induced to form any type of specialized cells for the treatment or study of disease. Studies of genetically normal and abnormal human embryonic stem cell lines may help in understanding the development of diseases, in testing treatments, and in potentially discovering new treatments and cures.

To learn more, view this presentation on the basics of human embryonic stem cell production.

There are two sources of embryos that can be donated to the University of Michigan for human embryonic stem cell research:

  1. Embryos previously generated for reproductive purposes that have been frozen and are no long needed for reproductive purposes. If you have embryos of this type, are considering embryo donation for human embryonic stem cell research, and want further information regarding how to donate, click on the following statement:
    Donation of Frozen Embryos No Longer Needed for Reproduction

    PLEASE NOTE: MStem Cell Laboratories periodically closes its donation program for frozen embryos no longer needed for reproduction to maintain an appropriate inventory/usage balance. Please contact the MStem Cell Study Coordinator at 734-649-6557 or mstemcell@med.umich.edu to check the current open/closed status of the donation program.
  2. 2) 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, are considering donation of genetically abnormal embryos for human embryonic stem cell research, and want further information regarding how to donate, click on the following statement:
    Donation of Genetically Abnormal Embryos