Scientists have succeeded Creating something much like a week-old human fetus from simple donor skin cellsIn a good example of the things slipping out of the limelight due to the pandemic. Progress is incomplete, as its authors admit – embryos are definitely incapable of bearing children, Let’s not talk about having a babyBut it makes the formation of a perfect human fetus just a matter of technology. Bioethics must be up to the task.
Jurists and lawmakers here, and more generally in regenerative medicine as a whole, are facing a speed test in which the pace of scientific progress has so far dominated. Not only do regulations respond late to discoveries, they also respond poorly, because stingy and foolproof uses of them produce stringent standards and myopia that quickly become unnecessary, or even as a hindrance. It’s exactly what is happening now with a sacred border that prevents half of the world from examining embryos older than 14 days. It is like admitting that an embryo larger than this has the status and protection of the individual, which is not given experimental support. Researchers in the sector and some jurists argue that this arbitrary limit should be removed, because it impedes the progress of knowledge in exchange for nothing. The community must participate in the debate.
The short-term goal of these investigations is to reach the unknown still constituted by the formation of the human fetus, to explore the causes of infertility and the mechanisms of congenital disease. No one intends to clone Fu-Manch or prove the non-existence of God – two projects that have not been heavily funded – but rather to improve medicine and alleviate human suffering. Legislative activity should respond with speed, waist, and standards adaptable enough to last for a few years.
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