April 24, 2024

Australian moratorium on IVF embryos to lapse

Australian researchers will have unrestricted access to spare” IVF embryos from next month. Prime Minister John Howard has decided not to press for an extension of a ban on the use of embryos created after April 5, 2002. Earlier this year he asked the states and territories to extend a three-year moratorium until 2006, but he was unsuccessful. As a consequence, embryos left over after IVF treatment will be available for destructive research provided that researchers obtain consent from the parents.

The decision was welcomed by an outspoken supporter of therapeutic cloning, Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja. However, special minister for state, Senator Eric Abetz, claimed that some scientists were trying to hoodwink the public that it was necessary to engage in destructive embryo research. “There has not been a single scientific success in the field of embryonic stem cell research,” he said. “It is my personal belief that scientists should concentrate their efforts on adult stem cell research, which has shown very promising results.”