Human Embryo Culture: Discussions concerning the statutory time limit for maintaining human embryos in culture in the light of some recent scientific developments

Nuffield Council on Bioethics
The UK’s independent Nuffield Council of Bioethics convened an expert workshop to respond to the question of whether the 14-day rule should be reevaluated in the wake of new technological developments. The Council explains the logic underlying the initial establishment of the rule and the UK’s specific legal mechanisms providing licensed exceptions for research on embryos younger than two weeks. It emphasizes the compromise that the 14-day rule represents and argues that if the rule were to change, another compromise would be necessary: “Any reopening of the debate around the 14-day rule will need to balance a range of competing interests” (2017:30). The report considers many of these interests, but ultimately argues that there is not yet a clear or compelling case either for scientific benefit or alternative regulatory mechanisms that would compel UK legislators to make changing the rule a public policy priority.