Reflection: Debate Alginate Bead Bioengineering Lab - Section 5: Elaborate


With all the discussion in the news and on talk shows about young women being encouraged to freeze their eggs now so they can continue with their career and later defrost the eggs and have children, is this a good idea? 

The Bioethics of the application of novel fertility preservation techniques is a rich aspect of this laboratory experience. I pose the above inquiry both before and after reading the Vogue article entitled, "Time to Chill? Egg Freezing Technology Offers Women a Chance to Extend Their Fertility" and enjoy observing the evolution of thought experience by most of my students. Be prepared for the intersection of this advancement in science with law, religion, and politics which provides all the right ingredients for a robust debate and spirited dialogue! At the end of the discussion I share my two cents are written below. Feel free to share my opinion with your students and see it is sparks debate! 

Senegar-Mitchell: Actually now, this is not a such good idea, except for cancer patients prior to their chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The follicles containing the oocytes can be harvested and frozen in liquid nitrogen, but defrosting and maturing the follicles to ovulation has not been perfected yet. The thawed follicles do begin to grow but don’t reach maturity. There have been not been live births to date either in the monkey model or in humans from frozen oocytes. Through further continuing research, this result should change in the future. Currently, freezing embryos and sperm are the best options for live births in monkeys and humans. 

  Debate: The Bioethics of Cryopreservation and Alternative Fertility Options
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Alginate Bead Bioengineering Lab

Unit 7: Advanced Techniques in Biotechnology
Lesson 2 of 6

Objective: The alginate lab is designed to teach students one of the cutting edge research procedures in Oncofertility and to explore a bioengineering application that can be used to preserve fertility in female cancer patients.

Big Idea: Novel methods of therapy often have roots in natural materials used in innovative ways.

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Science, fertility, bioengineering
  60 minutes
tube of alginate
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