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South Korean Hospital Says it Paid Human Egg Donors

The head of a South Korean hospital says he paid cash for some of the human eggs used in groundbreaking stem-cell research.

In a statement, Roh Sung-il, the chief of Mizmedi Hospital, says he paid $1,500 each to 16 egg donors because there were not enough volunteers for the project.

Mr. Roh says cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk was not aware of the payments, which were not illegal at the time they were made in late 2002. This year, South Korea banned commercial transactions in human eggs.

Earlier this month, a U.S. researcher withdrew from a stem-cell project in which he had been working for more than a year with Mr. Hwang because of ethical concerns.

In October, Mr. Hwang announced the formation of a World Stem Cell Hub to serve as a source of stem cells for scientific research.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and AP.