Ensuring ethical integrity in research begins with early identification of fundamental and serious ethical considerations. Thus, the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Zurich, with support from the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF), is developing a set of standards for the ethical evaluation of research in the field of breastfeeding and breastmilk.
Supported by an advisory group of clinicians and legal experts, and led by Dr. Nikola Biller-Andorno, the project is compiling a comprehensive, well-founded compendium of ethical considerations to aid scientists and reviewers working in the field.
“Research involving vulnerable populations such as newborns is ethically demanding. We want to support clinical scientists in living up to their own high moral standards.” – Nikola Biller-Andorno, Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil., Professor and Director of the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Zurich
Mirriam Tyebally Fang, MRCS, PhD student and research fellow, Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Zurich, is also working with Dr. Biller-Andorno on the project. The compendium they are developing is set to include:
• a set of normative rules, procedures and methods
• a checklist
• a core of central topics (e.g. vulnerability of pregnant women or special requirements for research projects in developing countries) presented and discussed from an ethical perspective
The compendium will be based on relevant national and international standards, including the Swiss Human Research Act, the Declaration of Helsinki and the Bioethics Convention of the Council of Europe.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2022; meanwhile, please find selected publications from Dr. Biller-Andorno here.