New Guidelines for Stem Cell Research
The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), an independent nonprofit founded in 2002, recently updated their guidelines for stem cell research. This update was completed due to the increased amount of research in the field over recent years. The guidelines acknowledge the importance studying human embryos in the advancement of stem cell understanding. The controversy surrounding the use of human embryos for stem cell research is active and often related to beliefs surrounding the start of human life, or when personhood is gained. The new ISSCR recommendations focus on the preservation of research integrity and patient welfare, as well as respect for the subjects of study and transparency surrounding the methods used. The new document aims to address ethical uncertainties that may be found in the previously offered ISSCR documents “Guidelines for the conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research” (2006) and “Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells” (2008). Some of these uncertainties may have arisen because of advancements in the field since the publication of the original recommendations. Interestingly, the new guidelines find that it may be acceptable to financially compensate women who donate their eggs. This accommodation is considered to be an appropriate way to ensure there is no burden placed upon women who choose to donate their eggs for scientific research that may not result in lifesaving medical advancements. However, the financial compensation for egg donation could also be viewed as an incentive to donate eggs in order to profit. If this is the case, women are no longer donating eggs but selling them. The new guidelines grapple with the way eggs may be seen. It is clear that eggs may be seen as analogous to organs, potential lives, or crucial ingredients to groundbreaking research. Navigating these views is difficult and is clearly attempted in the new ISSCR document.
The complete document specifying all new guidelines can be found at the ISSCR website: http://www.isscr.org/
"About Us." ISSCR. International Society for Stem Cell Research, n.d. Web. <http://www.isscr.org/home/about-us>.
Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation. Skokie, Illinois, USA: International Society for Stem Cell Research, 12 May 2016.
Nicholas, Anne. "ISSCR Releases Updated Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation." ISSCR. International Society for Stem Cell Research, 12 May 2016. Web. 14 May 2016. <http://www.isscr.org/home/about-us/news-press-releases/2016/2016/05/12/isscr-releases-updated-guidelines-for-stem-cell-science-and-clinical-translation>.