Although ethical consideration has been given to a wide variety of issues that arise in the collection and storage of human biologic material for research, little attention has been focused on the ethical implications of the diverse cultural meanings often associated with these materials. We explore the rich social meanings of the placenta across cultures and contrast these meanings with the assumption that the placenta is typically considered waste tissue that may find value in biomedical research. We suggest that the incorporation of sensitivity to the cultural meanings people give human biologic material and the use of empirical research, where necessary, to delineate these meanings should enhance the ability to craft and conduct ethically appropriate research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine