Promises and rules

Tsutomu Sawai
Go Okui
Kyoko Akatsuka
Tomohiro Minakawa
Japanese bioethicists and scholars defend the 14-day rule, pointing out that it was a promise and compromise that helped secure public trust in biomedicine. They also draw attention to concerns raised by others in the wake of the ISSCR’s 2021 revised guidelines. First, the ISSCR made its decision without sufficient public debate. Second, the ISSCR did not set a new limit for embryo culture in vitro. Overall, the authors “get the impression that the ISSCR’s justification does not give enough consideration to moral concerns vis-à-vis scientific merits” (2021:e53726). The article reminds us of the need for international perspectives on the relaxation of the 14-day rule. This could be a moment to consider international standards in human embryo research and a treaty to maintain them, as well as mechanisms for international oversight. the authors note that Japan follows the 14-day rule and that it is unlikely that it would allow the conduct of the research with human embryos beyond 14 days.