The time has come to extend the 14-day limit

Sophia McCully
The author argues for the extension of the 14-day rule based on potential biomedical and therapeutic applications and the lack of “coherent or persuasive reasons to deny researchers, and through them humanity, the knowledge and the innovation that this will generate” (2021:e66). In particular, the author argues that the use of animal models cannot fill the gaps left by the absence of human embryo research, as there are research questions that can only be addressed with their examination. The author draws further support for classifying in vitro human embryos as research objects from a 2007 Nuffield Council on Bioethics report that suggests that the moral status of the embryo depends on where it is placed, in a womb or a Petri dish. The restriction of experiments with embryos to the laboratory means that embryos would not be placed in an environment that could lead to their development into a human being. McCully’s argument stands on the premise that regulation should be subject to revisitation and revision as new knowledge or circumstances arise.