Stem Cell Provision Included in Senate Budget Bill SB1
Austin, Texas – April 17, 2009 Senate budget bill SB1 went to the Texas House floor today including legislation intended to block stem cell research in the state of Texas. The bill penned by Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan was written to provide funding for education and state services but also includes a provision designed to block public funding of stem cell research in the state of Texas.
Privately funded stem cell research also stands to lose if the research is conducted in a publically funded facility. This is in direct opposition to the Obama White house call to action to resume national stem cell research. The question foremost in everyone’s mind is how is a budget rider an appropriate mechanism to deal with an issue as important as stem cell research.
At a press conference held today at the State Capitol, Dr Kaylen M. Silverberg, the Medical Director of the Texas Fertility Center and Austin IVF spoke as part of a panel of experts that included authorities on stem cell research, stem cell economic impact and patient advocacy groups. This panel was assembled to provide answers to questions surrounding the inserted provision as well as the current state of embryonic stem cell research in Texas.
Dr. Silverberg explained to a crowd of press core, concerned lawmakers and citizens how embryos generated during the normal course of in-vitro fertilization are stored and in some cases discarded by the couples that created them.
“Many fertility centers have frozen embryos that will not be used by the couple to whom they belong. Most of these couples have conceived using fresh embryos and are legally allowed to discard their remaining embryos.”
“Rather than destroy these embryos, fertility centers would prefer an option whereby they can offer patients the opportunity to donate these embryos to promising stem cell research. This is truly the ultimate “Right to Life” issue, as similar to organ donation, couples would be able to use their embryos to help others prolong and improve the quality of their lives”.
The panel also included; Professor Bernard Weinstein, Director of the Center for Economic Development and Research and a professor of applied economics at the University of North Texas in Denton, Representative Ellen Cohen of Houston, Representative Rick Hardcastle of Vernon, Margaret Sampson, Attorney at Vinson & Elkins, LLP and PhD in Molecular and Human Genetics, and Advocate and Patient Emma
and Sara Garrett.
All members of panel expressed concern over how a budget committee would be able to appropriately address the provision without being briefed on the scientific and personal ramifications of stem cell research.
About the Texas Fertility Center
Texas Fertility Center (TFC), one of the nation’s leading infertility practices, provides advanced reproductive endocrinology services for patients throughout Texas and the Southwestern United States. With over 60 years of combined medical experience, TFC has been recognized nationally for unprecedented pregnancy rates, cutting-edge laboratory procedures, and innovative research programs. For more information, please visit www.txfertility.com.
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