Italian ethical committee intervention in a case of embryo-fetal medicine

Nunzia Cannovo, Paola Buccelli, Jane Bryce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Embryo-fetal experimentation is intuitively associated with a therapeutic intent, according to a consolidated line of thought on the international and national levels. We report on a researcher's request for Ethics Committee approval to perform intrauterine transplantation of stem cells via cordocentesis on a fetus diagnosed with dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, using stem cells obtained from a sibling's umbilical cord blood. The Ethics Committee rejected the request because of deontological issues and clinical judgments about the potential good to be derived from the procedure. In particular, in this case there was no preclinical or animal research on the procedure, the risk factors for mother and fetus were unknown, there was no way to guarantee compliance with Italian laws regarding safety and quality of the donor cells, and there was lack of clear informed consent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalMedicine and Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Embryo-fetal medicine
  • Ethics committee
  • Fetus
  • Trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Law


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