WASHINGTON, July 11, 2001 ( – For the first time in history, scientists in the US have admitted to creating human beings explicitly for experimentation that will lead to the deaths of those human beings. A study published today in the journal Fertility & Sterility, published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), admits that scientists harvested ova from 12 women and sperm from 2 men to create human embryos for stem cell experimentation.

Scientists at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk claimed their experimentation was “ethically and scientifically justifiable” and went as far as to claim it was “our duty to provide humankind with the best understanding of early human development.” The scientists at the Jones Institute, which fostered in 1981 the first test-tube baby born in America, admitted to harvesting 162 ova from the 12 women and creating 110 embryos of which 40 survived to the blastocyst stage. The result of the loss of all these lives was the creation of three embryonic stem cell lines to be used in further experiments.

Dr. William E. Gibbons, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and spokesman for the scientists, said the experiment underwent a “rigorous” ethical review with the ova and sperm donors having given informed consent. Reuters reports that such research is legal in the United States although a 1995 law bars federal funding for such purposes.

“This is really ghoulish, a ghoulish exercise they’ve engaged in,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee. If Bush approves federal funding for research with “spare” embryos, Johnson said, then scientists in time will demand funding to create embryos for research. “Once the federal government abandons the principle that it will not collaborate in embryo destruction, it has no principled basis for refusing to support these further outrages.” Meanwhile, supporters of the research were upset with the timing of the announcement. “It is not inappropriate,” said Dr. Michael Soules, an infertility expert at the University of Washington who is the society’s president [the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which represents fertility clinics and publishes Fertility & Sterility]. But he added: “Their timing could not have been worse.”

See the Reuters coverage: