Code of ethics

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

THE Indian Council of Medical Research, (ICMR), has drafted a code to make research involving human experimental material more ethical. The code deals with areas such as genetic engineering, in vitro fertilisation, foetal research and experiment carried out on women.

A committee headed by former chief justice M N Venkatachaliah said even though an international code exists, the importance of having a code specifically suited to India is important. ICMR has decided to revise the guidelines every five years, keeping in view the rapid rate of research in this field.

One of the areas covered by the code is that of test tube babies. Due to the importance and the success of tissue transplants, directives for their use have also been prepared.

According to the code, tissues from dead embryos may be used for transplant or research but the one from an aborted embryo can be used only if the mother gives her consent. Research cannot be carried out on a live aborted embryo and neither can the embryos be kept alive in artificial medium for the purpose of later use. Volunteers are to be also covered under the same insurance scheme.

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