Valentina Lapaeva

Status of Human Embryo in vitro as Ethical and Legal Issue: Religious Origins of Disagreements in Approaches

2023. No. 2. P. 4–24 [issue contents]
The subject of this article is the question of ontological status of the human embryo in vitro, on whose decision the determination of its moral and legal status depends, which is of exceptional importance for the ethical and legal regulation of manipulations with embryos in the process of scholar research and in clinical practice of the reproductive technologies. Various approaches to solve the problem of the embryo status historically developed in different countries and regions of the world the author considers from the standpoint of Christian anthropology. The thesis is substantiated that the idea of human likeness to God, formed in Christian culture, which gave a powerful impetus to scientific and technological progress, initially contained deep ideological prerequisites that could block the possibility of the most dangerous intrusions into the human nature, created in the image of God. One of these premises is the idea that the human embryo from the moment of its conception is a spiritualized person. This intention contained in the depths of the Christian worldview, to recognize the human embryo as a person was actualized in the last decades of the 20th century under influence of the legalization of abortion and the possibility of development of the embryo in the laboratory, its cryopreservation, manipulation of its genes to the prospect of genetic improvement of the future child. As a result, countries whose cultural matrix does not contain such moral and religious constraints, in the context of the development of the scholar and technological sphere, receive advantages in global competition that in a certain sense also has a civilizational character. This circumstance has become one of the factors contributing to the emerging changes in international ethical and legal regulation, defining the boundaries of genetic research on human embryonic development. The main vector of changes is set by the weakening of the previous restrictions, the origins of which go back to the dogmas of Christianity. Moreover, the latest innovations in this area demonstrate the desire of the biomedical community to share responsibility for the development of regulatory policy in the field of human embryo research with researchers of other branches of science and with the public.
Citation: Lapaeva V.V. (2023) Status of Human Embryo in vitro as Ethical and Legal Issue: Religious Origins of Disagreements in Approaches. Law. Journal of the Higher School of Economics, vol.16, no. 2, pp. 4–24 (in Russ.). DOI:10.17323/2072-8166. 2023.2.4.24.
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