Buying and Selling Human Tissues for Stem Cell Research

23 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2007


A series of expert committee reports and legislative proposals suggest an emerging consensus in the medical research and public policy communities that compensation of donors of tissues for stem cell and other biomedical research should be prohibited. Professor Korobkin challenges this consensus by outlining, analyzing, and ultimately rejecting, the leading arguments in favor of no compensation rules: that compensation is coercive, that it inappropriately commodifies the human body, that it will reduce the opportunity for altruistic donations, and that it will increase the cost of important medical research. He then evaluates second-best alternatives to allowing cash compensation for tissues and concludes by comparing the issues raised by compensation for research tissues with those raised by compensation for transplant organs.

Keywords: stem cells, egg donation, embryos, coercion, commodification, altruism, organ donation, biomedical research

Suggested Citation

Korobkin, Russell B., Buying and Selling Human Tissues for Stem Cell Research. Arizona Law Review, Vol. 49, p. 45, 2007, UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 07-13, Available at SSRN:

Russell B. Korobkin (Contact Author)

UCLA School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-825-1994 (Phone)
310-206-7010 (Fax)

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