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Inter-Species Embryos and Human Clones: Issues of Free Movement and Gestation

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The United Kingdom's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, introduced into Parliament on the 8th of November 2007 contains a number of controversial proposals inter alia expressly permitting the creation of inter-species embryos for research and destruction and increasing the scope for human cloning also for destructive research. It is supposed that there ought not to be a blanket ban on the creation of human clones, hybrids, cybrids and chimeras because these embryos are valuable for research purposes. The prohibition on the gestation of non-permitted embryos and interspecies embryos is used to generate confidence that embryos with compromised origins would not be gestated and reared. The argument outlined here demonstrates how uncertain are any legal prohibitions on gestation. Accordingly, the practical import of the distinction between compromised embryos for research and the same for live birth is equally dubious. The legislation would not, on this analysis, supply effective controls over this reproductive technology.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Lecturer in Law, Human Rights and Social Justice Research Centre, London Metropolitan University


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