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Exploring appropriation of “surplus” ova and embryos in Indian IVF clinics

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IVF clinics have emerged and are proliferating even in small towns of India. There is hardly any regulation or oversight regarding what happens to “surplus” ova and embryos, the potential raw material for embryonic stem cell research. India is an emerging economy where both public and private initiatives in stem cell research exist and are proliferating. There is a lack of transparency regarding the supply of stem cells required for research. Based on empirical research, the article provides insight into the practices and policy relating to the appropriation of human ova/embryos by IVF clinics and health (research) institutions. It also investigates the regulatory structures to govern procurement and ownership of ova/embryos, and whether they are likely to be adequate and effective. It concludes that the existing guidelines are not binding, lack legislative authority and adequate monitoring mechanisms, leaving the practice in IVF clinics to self-regulation. This creates a potential for exploitation of ova/embryo donors.
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Keywords: India; governance; ova appropriation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University for Humanist Studies, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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