Curing Chronic Diseases

Many years of IVF-related research led to the discovery of embryonic stem cells about a decade ago. Embryonic stem cells, which are produced by embryos, have the potential to develop into any type of cell in the body — for example liver, brain or skin — and scientists all over the world are working very hard to find ways of using these cells to repair and regenerate tissue that's affected by chronic disease. Many believe that in time diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's will be cured using stem cell technology. Apart from relieving human suffering, if stem cell therapy proves successful the health-care cost savings would be enormous. However, the issue is extremely controversial and debates about the ethics of using embryonic stem cells are ongoing worldwide.

Couples at risk of passing on serious genetic conditions to their offspring can take advantage of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or PGD (refer to Chapter 16) to ensure that only healthy embryos are transferred. If PGD identifies any of a couple's embryos as having a genetic disease, the couple may decide to donate the embryos for research, giving scientists an opportunity to study these diseases. By comparing embryonic stem cells extracted from embryos affected by a genetic condition with embryonic stem cells from healthy embryos, scientists hope to gain insight into how various genetic conditions develop and how they can be treated.

Pregnancy Guide

Pregnancy Guide

A Beginner's Guide to Healthy Pregnancy. If you suspect, or know, that you are pregnant, we ho pe you have already visited your doctor. Presuming that you have confirmed your suspicions and that this is your first child, or that you wish to take better care of yourself d uring pregnancy than you did during your other pregnancies; you have come to the right place.

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