Policy ForumRESEARCH ETHICS

NIH Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Gamete Donors

Science  19 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5968, pp. 962-963
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180725

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Summary

Recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines regarding human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines created from embryos remaining after infertility treatment (1) are expected to increase substantially the number of hESC lines eligible for U.S. federal funding. Although the guidelines require informed consent from embryo donors for derivation of hESC lines, such consent is not required from third-party donors (not an intended parent) whose gametes were used to create the embryos.This is in contrast to many state, national, and international recommendations (28). We argue that dispositional authorization after disclosure regarding hESC research should be obtained from third-party gamete donors, but that the requirements may be more flexible and less complex than for informed consent.