Convergence in European Nations’ Legal Rules Concerning the Use of Human Embryos in Research?

in European Journal of Health Law
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In this article convergence in European countries’ legislative rules concerning the use of embryos in research is studied by looking at how such rules have been formulated in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. An answer will be given as to whether these countries’ rules concerning the use of embryos in research have converged and if so what direction this convergence has taken, either liberalization or an extension of moral regulation by the state. This analysis shows to some extent that liberalization of the legislative rules concerning the use of embryos in research has taken place in these countries but also exposes how eu research funding policy has slowed it down. Subsequently, attention will be paid to the driving forces behind the liberalization as well as the countering forces it evokes.




Kurzer, supra note 1, p. 10.


R. Deech, ‘Reproductive tourism in Europe: Infertility and Human Rights’, Global Governance, 9 (2003) 425-432; F. Storrow, ‘Assisted reproduction on treacherous terrain: the legal hazards of cross-border reproductive travel’, Reproductive BioMedicine Online 23 (2011) 538-545.


S. Halliday, ‘A comparative approach to the regulation of human embryonic stem cell research in Europe’, Medical Law Review, 12 Spring (2004) 40-69.


Ibid., p. 47.


H. Winter c.s., Evaluatie Embryowet en Wet donorgegevens kunstmatige bevruchting (Den Haag: ZonMw, 2012) p. 40.


E. Olsthoorn-Heim c.s., Evaluatie Embryowet (Den Haag: ZonMw, 2006), p. 21; Kamerstuk-ken II, 2011-2012, 32 610, nr. 7, p. 13-14.


G. Maio, ‘The embryo in relationships: a French debate on stem cell research’, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 29(5) (2004) 583-602, at 586; S. Viville and Y Menezo, ‘Human embryo research in France’, Human Reproduction 17 (2002) 261-263: J. Merchant, From Legislation to Debate: The Regulation of Assisted Reproduction, Human Cloning, and Embryonic Stem Cell (esc) Research in France (Paris II), p. 4.


Loi n. 2004-800, 6 August 2004, Article 40; Maio, ibid., p. 587.


B. Salter, ‘Bioethics, politics and the moral economy of human embryonic stem cell science: the case of the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme’, New Genetics and Society 26(3)(2007) 269-288.


Ibid., p. 280.


European Parliament (2003) European Parliament Resolution on the proposal for a Council development Decision amending Decision 2002/834/EC on the specific programme for research, technological and demonstration: ‘Integrating and strengthening the European research area’ (2002-06), com (2003) 390, 19 November.


Ibid., p. 20.


Olsthoorn-Heim c.s., supra note 30, p. 21.


Deech, supra note 3, p. 425.


Maio, supra note 35, p. 597.


Halliday, supra note 17.


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