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Interprofessional spanning and maintaining boundaries when supporting potential embryo donors to stem cell research

Machin, Laura Louise and Williams, Richard Alun (2017) Interprofessional spanning and maintaining boundaries when supporting potential embryo donors to stem cell research. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 31 (3). pp. 342-350. ISSN 1356-1820

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    When patients undergo fertility treatment, it is likely that a surplus of embryos will be created. The existence of these surplus embryos creates responsibilities for the clinics where they are stored and for the people who own them. Since 2001, the owners of the surplus embryos in the UK have the option to donate them to be used in stem cell research (SCR). This development has generated a new population - potential embryo donors to SCR – who have unique support needs as they are neither fertility patients nor donors. However, little is known how lay and professional stakeholders associated with fertility treatment and SCR have conceptualised the support needs of potential embryo donors to SCR or have responded to the additional task once the option became available. In this paper, we draw on Gieryn’s concept of boundary-work to explore how the emergence of donating embryos to SCR has provided opportunities for embryologists, counsellors and scientists to shift, adapt or confirm their roles, knowledge base and areas of expertise. We present a thematic analysis of 21 in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted between September 2006 and January 2007 with UK lay and professional stakeholders associated with fertility treatment, and SCR. We conclude with reflections on the implications this boundary-work has for those contemplating donating embryos to SCR, and the care they receive when making their decision. Such insights are pertinent given the current policy and practice discussions led by the National Donation Strategy Group to improve the care of donors in the UK.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Interprofessional Care
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Interprofessional Care on 31/01/2017, available online:
    Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700
    Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine > Medicine
    Lancaster University Management School > Management Science
    ID Code: 82637
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 07 Nov 2016 10:18
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 26 May 2019 02:02
    Identification Number:

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