American Journal of Bioethics.

Animal Eggs for Stem Cell Research: A Path Not Worth Taking

In January 2008, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
(HFEA) (London, UK) issued two 1-year licenses for cytoplasmic hybrid
embryo research. This article situates the HFEA’s decision in its wider
scientific and political context in which, until quite recently, the
debate about human embryonic stem cell research has focused narrowly on
the moral status of the developing human embryo. Next, ethical
arguments against crossing species boundaries with humans are
canvassed. Finally, a new argument about the risks of harm to women egg
providers resulting from research involving the creation of humanesque
cytoplasmic hybrid embryos is elaborated. Taken together these ethical
concerns about the moral status of the human embryo, about the ethics
of crossing species boundaries with humans, and about the potential
harms to women (concerns that independently are more or less weighty
for different constituencies), provide good reason to eschew humanesque
cytoplasmic hybrid embryo research in favor of less ethically
controversial means to the laudable end of successful regenerative
medicine.

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Volume 8, Issue 12
December 2008