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Theor Med Bioeth. 2009;30(5):385-96. doi: 10.1007/s11017-009-9118-0.

For love or money? The saga of Korean women who provided eggs for embryonic stem cell research.

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Novel Tech Ethics, Dalhousie University, 1234 Le Marchant Street, Halifax, NS B3H3P7, Canada.


In 2004 and 2005, Woo-Suk Hwang achieved international stardom with publications in Science reporting on successful research involving the creation of stem cells from cloned human embryos. The wonder and success all began to unravel, however, when serious ethical concerns were raised about the source of the eggs for this research. When the egg scandal had completely unfolded, it turned out that many of the women who provided eggs for stem cell research had not provided valid consents and that nearly 75% of the women egg providers had received cash or in-kind payments. Among those who did not receive direct benefits, some cited patriotism as their reason for participating in embryonic stem cell research, hence the question "for love or money?"--namely, patriotism versus payment. This paper summarizes the Hwang debacle with particular attention to the egg scandal and ends with some preliminary thoughts on patriotism as a motive for research participation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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