The use of human fetal tissue: scientific, ethical, and policy concerns (January 1990)

Dorothy E. Vawter, Warren Kearney, Karen G. Gervais, Arthur L. Caplan, Daniel Garry, Carol Tauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The use of fetal tissue in transplants for treating illnesses such as Parkinson's disease and juvenile diabetes has raised the hopes of patients, their families, and the biomedical community. But, this practice has created considerable controversy. Concerns arise because tissue is usually obtained from electively aborted fetuses. Despite the controversy, there has been little systematic and sustained examination of the ethical and policy issues posed by the use of fetal tissue in biomedicine. The lack of information and analysis hampers serious discussion. In the Spring of 1988, the Center for Biomedical Ethics began an interdisciplinary research project on the scientific, ethical, and policy issues raised by the use of fetal tissue in biomedicine. Twenty-five scholars, drawn mainly, but not exclusively, from the faculty of the University of Minnesota, met to undertake the study. The members of this research group included experts in neonatology, pediatrics, neurology, neurosurgery, organ transplantation, tissue procurement, cell biology, immunology, epidemiology, law, philosophy, moral theology, and the behavioral sciences. The group met every three weeks over a period of ten months to collect and review information about the use of fetal tissue -- with special attention to transplantation -- the potential sources of fetal tissue, and the relevant laws and guidelines in the U.S. and other nations. Six members of the research group had primary responsibility for writing this report.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalJournal international de bioethique = International journal of bioethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1991


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