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What is the legal status in Europe of human embryos?

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What is the legal status in Europe of human embryos?


In this edition of Utalk the question is from Eva in Paris: “In Europe, what is the legal status of human embryos?”

The response is from Carine Brochier from the “European Institute of Bioethics in Brussels“
“So far, the question of the embryo’s legal status is not yet completely settled as we can see through a “recent judgement by the European Court of Human Rights”.

“In the case of “Parrillo versus Italy”. In law, we generally have two categories: things or objects and persons.

“So the question is whether embryos are considered as things or as persons. With this judgement the European Court of Human Rights has just indicated that in no case embryos can be considered as goods, as a thing. At the same time, the court did not say either that embryos are to be considered as persons.

Things or persons

“So its understood that the issue is still under consideration. This issue is difficult for scientists problematic in relation to voluntary termination of pregnancy and abortion. Indeed, if embryos are considered as persons, can we still go for a voluntary termination of pregnancy?

“Having said that, as embryos are not considered as things or half-things, the question is still to be settled. One thing is sure, there is no difference between in vitro and in vivo embryos.

“If kept in a supportive environment, embryos will always become babies, children, and in my view, this is what is challenging and new now.”

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