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Completed projects

Ethical frameworks for embryo donation: views, values & practices of IVF/PGD staff

Investigators: C.Williams*, B.Farsides, K.Ehrich, S.Avery, S.Franklin, P.Braude, R.Scott.
Project funding:   Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Programme.

This project explored the links between assisted conception, PGD and hESC research, particularly the donation of embryos to research. Good consenting practices are increasingly important for developing stem cell technologies and depositing stem cell lines in the UK Stem Cell Bank. The project was primarily a case study of staff at three English teaching hospitals, working in ACUs and linked stem cell laboratories. This research highlights the emergent nature of ethical frameworks amongst staff from diverse disciplines in a morally contested area of medicine and science. Some dilemmas and uncertainties are resolved as clinical practice and technologies co-evolve (e.g. recruiting only frozen or affected PGD embryos), but others remain unresolved making fully informed consent difficult to achieve, with staff retaining concerns about donors’ rights. 

Ehrich, K., Williams, C., Farsides, B., Scott, R. Embryo futures and stem cell research: The management of informed uncertainty. In revision for Sociology of Health & Illness.

Scott, R., Williams, C., Ehrich, K., Farsides, B. Donation of ‘spare’ embryos to research: exploring the reality of consent. Submitted to Medical Law Review.
Ehrich, K., Farsides, B., Williams, C.,  Scott, R., (in press) Constructing an ethical framework for embryo donation to research: is it time for a restricted consent policy? Human Fertility.
Ehrich, K., Williams, C., Farsides, B. Fresh or frozen?  (2010) Classifying ‘spare’ embryos for donation to hESC research. Social Science & Medicine. 71 (12): 2204-2211
Prainsack, B., Svendsen, M. N., Koch, L., Ehrich, K. (2010) Workshop Report: How do we collaborate? Social science researchers’ experience of multidisciplinarity in biomedical settings. BioSocieties 5(2) 278-286
Ehrich, K., Williams, C. And Farsides, B. (2010) Consenting Futures:  Professional views on social, clinical and ethical aspects of information feedback to embryo donors in hESC research. Clinical Ethics 5: 77–85
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