An Ethical Framework for Human Embryology with Embryo Models

August 18, 2023

(Cell) – A human embryo’s legal definition and its entitlement to protection vary greatly worldwide. Recently, human pluripotent stem cells have been used to form in vitro models of early embryos that have challenged legal definitions and raised questions regarding their usage. In this light, we propose a refined legal definition of an embryo, suggest “tipping points” for when human embryo models could eventually be afforded similar protection to that of embryos, and then revisit basic ethical principles that might help to draft a roadmap for the gradual, justified usage of embryo models in a manner that aims to maximize benefits to society. (Read More)