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Constructing an ethical framework for embryo donation to research: Is it time for a restricted consent policy?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kathryn Ehrich, Bobbie Farsides, Clare Williams, Rosamund Scott

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115 - 121
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

King's Authors


An Ethics & Policy Workshop was held with 20 invited UK stakeholders to consider whether embryo donors should be able to restrict the future use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) created from their embryos. Participants cited tensions between pure altruism and a more reciprocal basis for donation; and between basic research (in which genetic material would never form part of another living being) and treatment applications. Two restriction models were suggested to acknowledge specific ethical issues raised by hESCs' use in research and treatments: (1) a two tier system: hESCs with unrestricted consent could go to the UK Stem Cell Bank; those with restricted consent could be used in individual labs which could guarantee to honour the restrictions, and Bank deposit would not be required. (2) a three category system: restrictions could include (i) basic hESC research; (ii) hESC research and treatment; no gamete derivation (iii) 'unrestricted' hESC research and treatment.

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