The Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Ireland
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This thesis explores the regulation of stem cell research internationally with a view to providing a suitable regulatory framework for Ireland. It examines the ethical, legal and economic issues which can is raised by stem cell research. Due to the uncertain status of embryos in vitro, this study focuses almost exclusively on embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). However, this study offers recommendations that apply equally to all forms of stem cell research. The impact that the ethical discourse on the status of the embryo should have on public policy is also explored. While this thesis does not seek to defend a particular ethical viewpoint on the moral status of the embryo, it does provide recommendations on how public policy may be formulated in light of this debate. It then assesses the differing approaches to regulation, including traditional 'command-and-control' methods such as legislation and independent regulatory authorities, and reliance on economic instruments such as the patenting system and public funding. This feeds into the discussion of ESCR in Ireland and the thesis ends with a series of recommendations as regards the development of a suitable regulatory framework for ESCR in Ireland.