Clinical personnel who have a conscientious objection to hES cell research should not be required to participate in providing donor information or securing donor consent for research use of gametes or blastocysts. That privilege should not extend to the care of a donor or recipient.
Researchers may not ask members of the infertility treatment team to generate more oocytes than necessary for the optimal chance of reproductive success. An infertility clinic or other third party responsible for obtaining consent or collecting materials should not be able to pay for or be paid for the material obtained (except for specifically defined cost-based reimbursements and payments for professional services).
Restricting payment of those who obtain the embryos discourages the production of excess embryos during routine infertility procedures for later use in research. Other measures can be taken to ensure that conflicts of interest are appropriately managed. For example, the embryologist in the ART program who makes the determination that an oocyte has failed to fertilize or develop sufficiently for implantation should not be a member of the hES research team.
Once donated materials are obtained from couples or individuals, several additional standards should be applied to the storage, maintenance, and distribution of cell lines for research use. People and institutions responsible for these activities must maintain the highest ethical, legal, and scientific standards (Brivanlou et al., 2003). Cell lines might be stored at several institutions as part of individual research collections or might be deposited in more central repositories or banks. Developing standardized practices for obtaining, screening, processing, validating, and storing cell lines, and distributing them to users will provide confidence to researchers and the public that the materials are of high quality and of optimal use to researchers.
Several models exist for the banking of human biological materials. The most relevant is the U.K. Stem Cell Bank, which was established to provide researchers with an independent national stem cell resource:1
The Cell Bank will offer a vital resource to support the advance of research in this exciting area. At the same time it will develop important safeguards, by ensuring that cell lines which could ultimately provide the basis for clinical treatment are appropriately characterized and also handled and stored under conditions that are