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Professor Refutes Illegal Egg Use Claim

Posted November. 09, 2005 03:02,   


A hospital official commented to the effect of “I know of illegal sales of egg cells” before taking it back, giving rise to an uproar. The comment came amidst a police investigation into illegal egg cells distribution by large hospitals.

Board Chairman N (53) of a hospital in Seoul stated, “I performed surgery on an infertile woman even while being aware of egg dealing. I believe the authorities including the Ministry of Health and Welfare also know of the fact but are keeping it confidential considering the impact it will have,” in an interview with a broadcasting company on November 8.

However after the interview was aired, N opened a press conference explaining, “The interview was reported in an ambiguous manner. I meant that as patients are increasing, there is a higher possibility of problems (like egg dealing) arising.”

Before this, in a phone call with Dong-A Ilbo, N said, “It is true that 20 to 30 eggs were provided to Professor Hwang Woo-suk of Seoul National University at the initial stage of his stem cell research, which have reaped successful results. However the eggs provided were those donated for research.”

N has worked jointly with Professor Hwang on stem cell research.

Regarding N’s interview with the media, Professor Hwang stated “I have never used illegally distributed eggs for embryonic stem cell research. All eggs used in research were donated after gaining the consent of the donors themselves.” Currently, Hwang is in the United States participating in a meeting of researchers regarding the Stem Cell Hub.

Meanwhile, an official of the Seoul Seocho Police Station said, “An investigation is underway because among the materials obtained from the hospital, some consent forms are missing and the records of how surplus embryos were used are unclear.”

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com