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Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research

How to Donate Biological Materials


Human stem cell research at UCSF involves studies of oocytes (eggs), sperm and early-stage pre-implantation embryos (consisting of balls of cells). While these biological materials are not stem cells in them selves, they each support different strategies aimed at accessing the cells.

The biological materials used by UCSF scientists have been donated by individuals and couples who have completed fertility treatments and designated their excess or inadequate reproductive materials for research. Most of the materials have been donated by patients in the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, though UCSF has recently begun accepting donated materials from individual donors outside of the UCSF system, as well.

The goal of the research is to gain fundamental information about human development, with an eye toward understanding cancer and birth defects. By advancing the potential of stem cells, researchers hope to illuminate and treat a broad range of disorders, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

The collection and transfer of the biological materials to UCSF researchers is administered by the UCSF IVF Tissue Bank. A primary role of the bank is to ensure a clear separation between the fertility clinic and patients on one hand, and researchers on the other, in order to avoid possible conflicts of interest and pressure on potential donors.

In addition to oocytes, sperm, and embryos, the bank collects a variety of types of donated biologic material, such as blood and DNA, which supports genetic, infertility, and general health research. This research is aimed at improving understanding of human development and reproduction, with the goal of improving current treatment options.

To learn about the various options for donating reproductive materials to the IVF Tissue Bank contact ivftissuebank@ucsf.edu.