The approved research does not have reproductive or therapeutic goals for the embryo. Therefore, the use of human embryos is unnecessary for this investigation. Not only will this research not have any positive effects on the used embryo; it will also lead to the destruction of the embryo seven days after its generation.
“Destroying the embryo goes against the most basic ethical principles, since it is a human life”, says Nicolas Jouve, Professor Emeritus of genetics and President of CiViCa, a ONE OF US Federation’s member entity. He goes on to explain that “the fact that they are fertilized in vitro does not alter their human nature. They are not even technically called ‘pre-embryos’, but what they really are: ’embryos’ in their early stages of development.”
According to Monica Lopez Barahona, Head of the Department of Bioethics at Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, “HFEA-authorized investigations are not ethically acceptable, because they use human embryos as a means and not as an end, opening a door to genetic modification of human embryos.”
ONE OF US European Federation regrets that even after two million European citizens from across the continent signed a petition to curb research that would destroy human embryos, the United Kingdom authorized genetically modifying human embryos using the CRISPR/Cas9 system.
Authorization by the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s (HFEA) was given on last February 1. It is the first approval from a national regulatory body on this kind of research in the world. ONE OF US rejects HFEA’s authorization to use the CRISPR/Cas9 technique on human embryos for research, because it implies the creation of in vitro embryos, which are genetically manipulated by modifying certain genes’ genome and then destroying them to reach the blastocyst stage. This highlights the lack of protection of human embryos that are created in such labs.
ONE OF US Federation notes that approved research does not pursue reproductive or therapeutic goals for the embryo but merely seeks to study the genes involved in the early stages of embryonic development. Consequently, this research is not only harmful to the embryo, but it also implies its destruction seven days after the experience.
For Monica Lopez Barahona, Head of the Department of Bioethics at Jérôme Lejeune and President of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation in Spain, “HFEA-authorized investigations are not ethically acceptable, because they use human embryos as a means and not as an end, opening the door to genetic issuance of human embryos and allowing the destruction of human embryos after seven days of fertilization.”
Moreover, for Prof. Nicolas Jouve, Professor Emeritus of Genetics and President of CiViCa, ONE OF US Federation’s entity-member, “this decision can be described as unnecessary, hasty and unethical.” Jouve goes on to explain: “they are going to use human embryos with the premise that they will be destroyed after the release of genes and appropriate conclusions about the effects have been made. The destruction of embryos is contrary to the most elementary ethical principles. This is because they are human lives. The fact that they come from in vitro fertilization does not alter their human nature. They are not even technically called ‘pre-embryos’, but what they really are: ’embryos’ in their early stages of development.”
Nicolas Jouve also details that “CRISPR/Cas9 technology is still vague. It is not guaranteed that it can be safely used to modify (edit and correct) human genes. It is probably for this reason that researchers set out to destroy the manipulated embryos. The precedent set by some Chinese researchers in the summer of 2015 caused great controversy precisely because of the hasty use of this technique on embryos that had not yet developed a germ line. That is, if these embryos go ahead in their development they could be adversely affected in a particular gene or regulatory system for gene expression, with negative consequences not so much for the adult individual that will develop from them, but for its descendants in future generations. This is why it is banned in most developed countries, including Spain: because of its adverse consequences to future generations. “
Thus, the European Federation ONE OF US rejects any form of research involving the destruction of human embryos for violating the dignity of the person. We hope that the EU will listen to the voice of those two million people who asked the European Parliament -in 2012 by signing the ECI One Of US- to end the funding of activities involving the destruction of human embryos, particularly in the areas of research, development aid and public health.
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The ONE OF US European Federation for Life and Human Dignity is an international non-profit, non-political and non-denominational Federation legally registered under Belgian law. To date it is composed by 28 national and local member entities who participated in the collect of signatures during the One of Us European Citizens Initiative and provide care, counsel and advocacy free services to all throughout Europe.