Human embryo culture: Discussions concerning the statutory time limit for maintaining human embryos in culture in the light of some recent scientific developments


Published 04/08/2017

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In December 2016, we held a workshop with the range of experts to discuss whether, after 25 years, there may be persuasive reasons to review this legal limit or whether the reasons for its introduction remain sound.

Key issues and questions that were discussed at this workshop included:

  • What has the current limit achieved?
  • How might scientific opportunities change if the limit was redrawn?
  • What is the moral and policy significance of developmental thresholds?
  • What is the significance of the international context?
  • Whose interests are engaged by this issue?

This document contains a background paper that was commissioned to inform the workshop, together with a report of discussions at the workshop itself. This is supplemented by a series of individual contributions from those who were invited to participate, in which they have been encouraged to elaborate their personal views on significant aspects of the debate.

We published a document in August 2017 that considers whether or not there may be persuasive reasons to review the legal time limit for maintaining human embryos in culture.