Demand for Experiments on Older Human Embryos Raises Debate Over Personhood

Emma Betuel | August 7, 2018 |

After 14 days, is an embryo more than just a ball of cells?

Trilaminar-human-embryo Even before we could experiment on human embryos, we’ve gone back and forth about where we should draw the line: When does an embryo stop being a bunch of cells and start to become a person? If you were Dante Alighieri, writing in the 14th century, you would have drawn the line at the point of “ensoulment.” If you’re a scientist working in the 21st century, you might end experiments at a point called “individuation.” If you are a bioethicist trying to write policy, you might do so after 14 days …

Bioethicists in Europe [have] argued in EMBO Molecular Medicine that it’s time to rethink the timeline of personhood... deciding on where to draw this line is crucial to navigating the ethics of embryonic research. The “14-day rule”, made official in 1985, functions as a drop-dead zone for embryonic research because after 14 days, things start to change in the embryo. Cells no longer simply copy and paste themselves and start to differentiate into three layers known as “the primitive streak,” ...

Has the time has come to extend the 14-day rule to 28 days and probe a bit further into what some researchers call the “black box” of human development? Read more.

Angel fish
Public Domain, Link

...and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind ... the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind ...the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1


A SistersSite eBook

Flesh and Bone and The Protestant Conscience is an e-book on It is 99¢ and in the Amazon lending library as well. It is also available here in PDF format. The book description follows.

Would you let your conscience be your guide?

Does God care if the skin and bone of the dead are passed along to the living for medical uses? Is organ donation OK with God? Should you sign a Living Will?

Did you know that dead organ donors are often anesthetized before their organs are removed? Do you know the current definition of death? The conscience cannot function without facts.

As we ponder the ethics of in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and man-made chimeras, our thoughts trail off. How then should we live? (Ez 33:10)

How should a Christian think about euthanasia by starvation when doctors and the state attorney general all agree it is time to withhold feeding from a brain injured patient? Some things are family matters, but someday it may be our family.

Here is a small book to help you think about whether you want to sign your driver's license, donate a kidney, cremate your loved one, and many other practical questions that may arise in the course of your healthcare decisions or watch over others.

It offers a special focus on the doctrine of the Resurrection that is related to such decisions. Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups could use this book to facilitate discussion about the issues covered.