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Gov't tightens regulations on embryonic stem cell registration

The government will require all registrations of embryonic stem cells to have consent forms from donors and a sample of their biological material on file to block unethical conduct in the research process, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Friday.

The new regulation, effective from the day, obligates registrants to provide formal consent forms from donors stating that they agree to give their eggs and somatic cells and that they can be used for research purposes.  Registrants must also submit the biological material of the donors and detailed research plans on how and where the donated eggs and somatic cells will be used, the ministry said.

Laws governing stem cell research have been murky, with no set rules on how the donors should be treated and protected. There have been reports of people selling their eggs secretly to labs, raising questions about the validity of study results as well as controversies over the ethical implications.

The ministry said it will also demand research agencies confirm in advance how many times a donor has given eggs for free.  The current law limits such donations to three times during a lifetime to protect the health of the donors. (Yonhap)