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Fertil Steril. 2004 Sep;82(3):559-63.

Informed consent in human oocyte, embryo, and embryonic stem cell research.

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Program in Medical Ethics and the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, 521 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0903, USA.


Research with human oocytes, embryos, and additional embryonic stem cell lines is needed to address important scientific questions and to fulfill the promise of stem cell transplantation for degenerative diseases. Proponents need to develop guidelines for the appropriate conduct of embryonic stem cell research. Such guidelines will help build public trust and acceptance for this research. In this article, we offer recommendations for informed consent, discussing who should give consent, what the consent process should cover, when consent should be obtained, and who should obtain consent. Consent to use embryos for research should be obtained from oocyte and sperm donors as well as from the woman or couple undergoing infertility treatment. The consent discussion must cover information that donors need to know to make an informed decision about various types of research. Donations for research should be discussed at the initiation of advanced infertility treatment and reconfirmed if possible at the time of actual donation for research. Treating assisted reproduction technology physicians can help with the consent process, provided that they are not involved in the research.

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