The donation of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) tested and affected embryos to stem cell research at the University of Michigan
For couples with a family history of inherited diseases like Leukodystrophies, that cause pain, suffering, and sometimes death, in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) makes it possible to build a family without the risk of passing on the mutant gene and known disease to their children.
Inherent in PGD testing is the production of embryos which test positive for genetic defects. Typically, these disease-affected and abnormal embryos are deemed “not suitable for implantation” and are discarded. Couples now have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the diseases, many times present in their families such as Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), Canavan Disease, Krabbe Disease, and Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, by donating these otherwise discarded embryos to embryonic stem cell research at the University of Michigan’s Stem Cell Program.
This University of Michigan program, called MStem Cell Laboratories, has already produced the world’s first ALD disease-specific human embryonic stem cell line†. Embryos carrying any single-gene disease for which PGD testing is available, (such as those listed above) may be donated to the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved study.
Is it difficult to donate?
Not at all. Prior to beginning their IVF cycle, couples interested in donation of PGD-tested and disease affected embryos review and sign an informed consent document provided by the University of Michigan. During the consent review, our Study Coordinator will speak by phone with both the female and male interested in embryo donation to answer any questions they may have. Our Study Coordinator also works directly with each couple’s fertility healthcare provider to facilitate the embryo donation process.
Where can I learn more?
Visit the University of Michigan Stem Cell Program website at: www.stemcellresearch.umich.edu/donation/donors.html, or you can call our Study Coordinator at +1-734-649-6557, who will be glad to assist you.
* Nakano et al. Cell Stem Cell (2012) Vol: 10 Issue 6