Dutch health council says human embryos can be created for research

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Currently, embryos can be used for research purposes if they are left over after fertility treatment but they cannot be created specifically for use in science.

The health council said fertilising eggs to create embryos for researching serious hereditary illnesses under strict conditions will not conflict with respect for life.

‘Focused research aimed at preventing serious health conditions and with strict regulations attached would not conflict with human values,’ the council said. ‘However, there would need to be a broad debate within both healthcare and society at large.’

By experimenting with removing parts of the embryo’s dna, it may be possible to prevent children being born with serious health problems such as Huntingdon or Duchenne.

The techniques for doing this can be further refined while the ethical and legal discussion about creating embryos for research continues, the health council said.

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