The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 19, Issue 3, Autumn 2019

Kevin Wilger
Pages 391-399

Embryo Models Derived from Stem Cells
A Response to Nicolas Rivron and Colleagues

In their article “Debate Ethics of Embryo Models from Stem Cells,” Nicolas Rivron and colleagues call for a debate on stem cell–derived human embryo models. They first ask four questions regarding ethics and embryo models, and then give four recommendations to investigators and regulators. Understanding the nature of embryo models is crucial to determining their treatment. If they are human organisms, they should be protected by existing guidelines for ethical research. For instance, the good—which for humans includes organismal flourishing—precludes experimentation on embryonic humans. However, investigators do not know with certainty whether embryo models are equivalent to embryos. Therefore, investigators must halt experiments, evaluate data, and engage in debate before continuing with research.