The San Francisco-based Pacific Fertility Center plans to recruit women to donate eggs to be cloned for embryonic stem cell research conducted by the newly created World Stem Cell Foundation, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Scientist Hwang Woo Suk -- the first person to clone human embryos for the purpose of creating stem cells -- on Wednesday in Seoul, South Korea, announced the creation of WSCF, which aims to produce about 100 new embryonic stem cell lines annually. PFC Medical Director Philip Chenette said that by January 2006 the center hopes to be able to offer eggs to a future San Francisco Bay Area satellite clinic of WSCF. PFC will seek to obtain eggs from women in their 20s and 30s who are in good physical and emotional health and are willing to give themselves hormone injections. South Korean scientists then would perform a cloning procedure with the eggs to create stem cell lines and make them available to scientists, according to the Mercury News. PFC has not decided if it will pay egg donors. Marcy Darnovsky, spokesperson for the Oakland, Calif.-based Center for Genetics and Society, said she worries that physicians will not protect the safety and health of the donors and that low-income women will want to donate if PFC pays for the eggs. Chenette said, "[T]here is an emerging standard for managing these kinds of projects, and we will work in accordance with that," adding, "It will be done with sensitivity by people who are building a research lab that will be here for a long time to come, who will have a relationship with the community that can benefit." According to the Mercury News, the PFC program would be the second in the U.S. to recruit women to donate eggs for embryonic stem cell research. About 24 women have donated eggs for research to the Boston-based Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation (Krieger, San Jose Mercury News, 10/20).

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