“In vitro fertilization could be improved and it could also limit, if not eliminate, births of children with disabilities or congenital inherited disorders.” argues researchers.

Reports have been spread by some that human life begins 14 days after fertilization, i.e. when the implantation of the embryo has been consolidated. Consequently, it is ethical for these people human embryos manipulation, which they call pseudo embryos, during the first 14 days of embryonic development. This is an opinion that many of us of course do not accept because we defend what biologically seems unquestionable: that human life begins with fertilization, i.e. with the union of the egg and sperm, and that the single-cell embryo, the zygote, is a living being of our species, with the inalienable rights that every human being has, so it cannot be manipulated, much less destroyed (read HERE about the biological status of the human embryo from fecundation).

Now, however, a group of scientists, members of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), is not satisfied with limiting embryo manipulation to the first 14 days of their life (return to an ancient concept pre-embryo?), and are therefore preparing guidelines with recommendations that would allow research with human embryos to be extended beyond that date. In other words, the ISCCR aims to establish itself as the voice of ethics in human embryo research, determining what is ethically acceptable or not. If such a standard is adopted, embryonic development could be studied and potentially manipulated, which in their view, even opens up the possibility of ectogenesis, that is to say, that animals — even humans — can develop outside the mother’s womb, in an artificial uterus.

Not all members of the ISCCR support the idea

However, not all members of the ISCCR support the idea that using human embryos over 14 days of age for biomedical research should be permitted. Nonetheless, those who think so are a minority, for the vast majority of them argue that if this rule is adopted, in vitro fertilization could be improved and it could also limit, if not eliminate, births of children with disabilities or congenital inherited disorders.

Still, others expand the potential benefits even further, claiming that it will be an important step in developing genetic engineering in humans and for the use of gene editing and other genome modifications. Certainly, all of this has apparent benefits for human research and enhancement, but it has the insurmountable ethical stumbling block that a possible benefit can never justify using unethical means to achieve it, in this case, the manipulation and possible destruction of human embryos.

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