Policy on embryo research continues to zig-zag. Having first said it would outlaw the creation of animal-human hybrids for medical experimentation, the Government then decided to allow it. That position was endorsed last week by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
I hope that the Government will change tack yet again. I am deeply uncomfortable with the use of human embryos for research. The HFEA recognised the revulsion many feel at such use of human cells, but insisted that the benefits outweighed such feelings. The recent go-ahead for the creation of ‘cybrid’ embryos – created by the use of a human cell or its nucleus to fertilise an animal egg from which the nucleus has been removed – brings more dilemmas.
If the embryos are human enough to be of use in research, are they not human enough for it to be wrong to experiment on them – whatever the possible benefits?