Critical medical research depends on scientists' ability to work with human cells and organs, but families who donate a loved one's tissue for science seldom learn much about what happens next.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An ultrasound showed one of Sarah Gray's unborn twins was missing part of his brain, a fatal birth defect. His brother was born healthy but Thomas lived just six days. Latching onto hope for something positive to come from heartache, Gray donated some of Thomas' tissue for scientific research — his eyes, his liver, his umbilical cord blood.
Only no one could tell the Washington mother if that precious donation really made a difference. So Gray embarked on an unusual journey to find out, revealing a side of science laymen seldom glimpse.
"Infant eyes are like gold," a Harvard scientist told her.
"I don't think people understand how valuable these donations are," said Gray, who hadn't either until her years-long quest brought her face-to-face with startled scientists. They had never met a relative of the donors so crucial to their work either. Continue reading
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