No small matter for some: practitioners' views on the moral status and treatment of human embryos
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AbstractIn this paper, we discuss findings from two studies designed to access and analyse the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of health-care professionals and scientists working in morally contested fields of biomedicine that involve the embryo. We seek to support the view that the embryo typically ‘matters’ to the people we interviewed and whose work we observed, even though it is impossible for them to agree in terms of why that is, and even though their work is of the type to which the moral guardians of the embryo object. In the first part of this paper, we touch on the policy and legal position in relation to embryos, noting Margot Brazier's account of the development of the relevant regulation in the UK and the importance of her claim that the embryo is widely thought to have an important symbolic value. We then turn to explore some of the views, attitudes, and work practices of those whose work involves the embryo, whether that be in relation to fertility treatment services, including IVF and PGD, or research that uses embryos. Our discussion shows the extent to which the embryo typically matters, in various ways, to those working in these fields.
Farsides, Bobbie and Scott, R (2012) No small matter for some: practitioners' views on the moral status and treatment of human embryos. Medical Law Review, 20 (1). pp. 90-107. ISSN 0967-0742