Stem-cell guidelines: why it was time for an update
Robin Lovell-Badge, who chaired the ISSCR’s Task Force to Update the Guidelines, provides an overview of the methods and experts involved in the May 2021 update and defends the rationale for extending the 14-day limit on embryo research to 28 days. According to Lovell-Badge, ISSCR’s guidelines sought to reflect current science without stepping into what research boundaries should be set or were socially acceptable. This is a task would require procedures of public engagement and assessments of public support in recognition of the rule’s status as a compromise in the face of opposition. The author further highlights that the ISSCR suggests reviewing and approving proposals for studies beyond the 14-day limit on a case-by-case basis and only with sufficient justification. Last, suggests that while “blanket bans enshrined in law appeal in their simplicity” (2021:479) and enforceability, they do not benefit society and are not based on the best evidence available.