Furthering of Tissue Rights

What are Tissue Rights?

Tissue rights are defined as the rights that come along with the ownership and usage of human tissue. When tissues are inside your body, they are clearly ours. But once they exit, the rights over them become unclear. At present, patients can reject or consent the right to the donation of tissue samples for research but such rights are limited. Common law protects people from involuntary taking of body tissue, which is considered to be battery. But after the tissue has been taken, it's usage for research without the patient's consent may be permitted under federal research regulations, if the patient's identity is kept unknown or if the identity is uncertain. No consent, is currently required for research that poses minimal threats to patients, or research in which the identity of the tissue samples will be obscured. 

So basically we currently have no tissue rights that are written down in the law, and we did not have any during Henrietta Lacks's case. It is not illegal for doctors to take cells without notifying the patient, and they do not have to tell you when they want to use your cells to do research. Some people continue to feel strongly about the taking of their tissues, especially in the use of research because they have a feeling of ownership over what was once in their body. But at this point, no law has fully clarified whether we have the rights to control our own tissue or whether we own our tissue.