The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which examines ethical issues in biology and medicine, has launched a new consultation on the use of human organs, tissues and cells for use in medical treatment and research. They are looking particularly at how society should respond to increasing demand; whether people should be encouraged or incentivised to donate; issues of consent in different circumstances; and how much control donors might expect to exercise over the use of donated tissues.
A background paper on the issue considers the uses of ‘human bodily material’ for different forms of treatment, to create new humans via fertility treatments, and for directed donation (that is, to known recipients such as relatives) or non-directed donation (for unknown recipients). With respect to research, distinctions are drawn between immediate, specific uses and long-term, unknown applications, and between non-commercial and commercial uses.
The closing date for consultation responses is 13th July 2010.