Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 133–140 | Cite as

The Boundaries of Embryo Research: Extending the Fourteen-Day Rule

Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law John McPhee (Law) Student Essay Prize 2018
  • Caitlin DavisEmail author
Critical Perspectives


The disciplines of ethics, science, and the law often conflict when it comes to determining the limits and boundaries of embryo research. Under current Australian law and regulations, and in various other jurisdictions, research conducted on the embryo in vitro is permitted up until day fourteen, after which, the embryo must be destroyed. Reproductive technology and associated research is rapidly advancing at a rate that contests current societal and ethical limits surrounding the treatment of the embryo. This has brought about the question of the adequacy of the fourteen-day rule and whether it is necessary for it be reconsidered and reformed. This paper will highlight some of the tensions that exist in ethics, science, and the law in relation to the extension of the rule. It will be concluded that any move to extend the rule must be accompanied by close consultation with the public as the ultimate stakeholders in how the future of reproductive technology is created, constructed, and contested.


Bioethics Health law Science Ethics Humanity Reproductive technology 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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