Monday 07 July 2008
Professor Roger Brownsword, Kings College, London
The interface between Science and the Law: the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, 2007-08)
Scientists want to advance knowledge, Society wants protection and advances. How does the law affect Science?
The recent Parliamentary debates concerning key provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill highlight continuing concerns about the respect that, as a community, we attach to the human embryo. Ever since the Warnock Report in the 1980s, we have insisted that we accord the human embryo a special status and yet licences can be (and are) issued to use human embryos for research (including now using so-called cybrids or hybrids for research), and human embryos can be screened and then selected or rejected depending upon their suitability to serve as prospective "saviour siblings". Is this the best that we can do and what does the future hold?