Position Statements

SSR has taken official positions on the following issues.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

SSR coauthored the following letter to the Secretaries of Labor and Health and Human Services on 14 August 2013: "Coverage for Individuals Participating in Approved Clinical Trials," as added by the ACA.

Stem Cell Research

Approved by SSR Board of Directors, February 2002

The Society for the Study of Reproduction supports the use of federal funds for research on human stem cells of both embryonic and adult origin. It recognizes the enormous potential of stem cell research in understanding the processes whereby cells differentiate to form new tissues and organs and the potential such work has for improving human health and well being. At the same time, SSR recognizes that any research, in particular that involving human embryonic stem cells, must adhere to the highest ethical and scientific standards. It therefore supports appropriate public oversight of embryonic stem cell research to assure such standards are always met.

Online Publication and Access to Journal Content

Approved by SSR Board of Directors, February 2002

We believe that scientific publishing belongs in the hands of scientists and that an important way to ensure this is with journals published by not-for-profit scientific societies such as SSR. How better to decide such critical issues as what and when and how to publish, who should serve as Editor-in-Chief and editorial board members, how articles are reviewed, and who reviews them? In fact, it is exactly for these reasons that scientific societies began to publish their journals in the first place.

For these reasons, we do not wish to see the control of scientific publishing wrested from not-for-profit scientific societies. We urge our colleagues not to support any boycotts that attempt to force scientific societies to relinquish their publication responsibilities and/or rights. Rather, we encourage our colleagues to continue to support the efforts of their society's publications.

To make our position clear, the Board of Directors of SSR wishes to emphasize the commitment of SSR to:

  • Continued production of high-quality publications, primarily for the benefit of its membership and, consistent with SSR's Mission Statement, "…to promote the study of reproduction by fostering interdisciplinary communication within the science…" This commitment includes retention of our rights and obligations concerning copyright as well as the numerous editorial and production issues involved in producing such publications;
  • Release of the content of Biology of Reproduction (BOR) Online to the public within a reasonable time period after initial publication, to be determined by the Board;
  • Free access to the content of BOR and/or BOR Online to individual scientists from third-world countries in cases of financial hardship, to be approved by the Board; and
  • Opposition to the efforts by various organizations/entities to force not-for-profit society-based publications into releasing their content or relinquishing their copyrights under conditions not agreeable to the society(ies). We interpret these efforts as compromising our ability to fulfill our responsibilities and obligations as outlined in the bulleted paragraphs above.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Approved by SSR Board of Directors, February 2002

Although specific postdoctoral position titles may differ across and even within institutions, a postdoctoral fellow is here defined broadly as an individual who has earned a Ph.D., MD, DVM, or equivalent doctoral degree and performs research under the supervision and support of a faculty mentor. These positions should not be permanent and should extend no more than seven years. They involve training, as well as research, and prepare the individual for a professional career.

SSR is committed to supporting attempts to improve the postdoctoral experience. A postdoctoral trainee should have a salary that reflects the skills and experience of the trainee, a research experience that equips the trainee for a range of career opportunities, and benefits that include health care coverage.

Use of Animals in Education

Approved by SSR Board of Directors, July 2000

The Society for the Study of Reproduction affirms the essential contribution of animals in research and education aimed at improving the health and well being of both humans and animals. The role of animals remains critical in understanding the fundamental processes of life and in developing treatments for injury and disease. SSR believes that educational objectives are best met when teaching focuses on animals as living, sentient creatures, emphasizing their behavior, life history, and relationships with their environment. SSR considers that the use of animals in education is a privilege, which imposes a major responsibility on educators to provide for their proper care and humane treatment.

For pre-college biology education, SSR deems that the educational value of using living animals is not sufficient to justify major manipulations of their behavior or environment or any procedures that cause pain, distress, or discomfort. At this level, activities involving live animals should be limited to supervised observations of behavior, growth, and development of domestic mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates, and their routine care. Educators proposing to involve animals in the classroom or laboratory at this or any level should be familiar with and inform their students of basic animal care and use laws and guidelines with a brief explanation of their value. SSR supports the use of biological specimens for anatomical or physiological study, provided their procurement and use are in strict compliance with federal legislation, guidelines and policies of the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture, and other such agencies as may be appropriate.

SSR recognizes that the use of live animals in carefully designed and properly monitored laboratory exercises is an indispensable part of training in certain programs of higher education. Knowledge, experience, and insights gained through the responsible use of live animals in the classroom and laboratory are unique, invaluable, and irreplaceable elements of a quality education in many basic and clinical disciplines.

In all situations where animal use is envisioned, SSR advocates both the careful consideration of alternatives and the highest standards of husbandry and care when animals must be used. In considering alternatives in the design of educational experiences involving animals, SSR advocates principles embodied by the three R's (replacement, reduction, and refinement). Therefore, educators should consider alternative methods that might serve as effective replacements of sentient animal models, adopt practices that will reduce the number of animals needed for effective educational experiences, and refine techniques in order to minimize or eliminate pain, distress, or discomfort in animals that must be used. This includes the judicious use of sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia when appropriate. At institutions of higher education, it is expected that all procedures involving vertebrate animal use will be reviewed and approved by an appropriately appointed institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) and that provision will be made for the training of all personnel involved in the care and use of animals.

Human Cloning

The Society for the Study of Reproduction supports the following "Voluntary Moratorium on Cloning of Human Beings."—November 1997.

RESOLVED

The Society for Developmental Biology declares a voluntary five-year moratorium on cloning human beings, where "cloning human beings" is defined as the duplication of an existing or previously existing human being by transferring the nucleus of a differentiated, somatic cell into an enucleated human oocyte, and implanting the resulting product for intrauterine gestation and subsequent birth.

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