BMJ (British Medical Journal). 1988 Sep 24; 297(6651): 782-783.
A fellow of Cambridge University explores the implications of the British Department of Health's 1987 white paper on "Human Fertilisation and Embryology: A Framework for Legislation." The paper proposes the creation of a statutory authority to license experiments on human embryos in vitro during the first 14 days after fertilization, after which any surviving embryos would have to be destroyed. Although believers in the sanctity of human life from fertilization of the ovum oppose any experimentation on human embryos, the embryo conceived in vitro must be distinguished from that conceived in vivo by its inability to develop into a baby unless implanted in a uterus. Legislation resulting from the report is likely also to cover experimentation on later fetuses, either destined for abortion or separated from the mother by abortion, and the ethical and legal questions raised by these situations must not be overlooked. (KIE abstract)
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