, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 367-384

Oversight framework over oocyte procurement for somatic cell nuclear transfer: comparative analysis of the Hwang Woo Suk case under South Korean bioethics law and U.S. guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research

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Abstract

We examine whether the current regulatory regime instituted in South Korea and the United States would have prevented Hwang’s potential transgressions in oocyte procurement for somatic cell nuclear transfer, we compare the general aspects and oversight framework of the Bioethics and Biosafety Act in South Korea and the US National Academies’ Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and apply the relevant provisions and recommendations to each transgression. We conclude that the Act would institute centralized oversight under governmental auspices while the Guidelines recommend politically-independent, decentralized oversight bodies including a special review body for human embryonic stem cell research at an institutional level and that the Guidelines would have provided more vigorous protection for the women who had undergone oocyte procurement for Hwang’s research than the Act. We also suggest additional regulations to protect those who provide oocytes for research in South Korea.