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The Fondation Brocher is an essential player in this vital thinking process: one which will help make us aware of the real challenges in using our resources for maximum impact on the health of the people of the world.



Professor Daniel Wikler, Harvard University


The Brocher Foundation is a Swiss non-profit private foundation  recognized of public interest. Your donations are tax deductible according to the regulations in force.


December 12 - 14, 2018

Drawing the Line: Analyzing the International Guidelines on Human Embryo Research from Ethical, Legal, Social and Scientific Perspectives



Human embryo research is restricted in many countries to the 14th day of development, a stage prior to the formation of the primitive streak—an observable, early step towards the formation of neural tissue. In 2016, scientists published the first reports cultivating human embryos to this time point, stopping because of the restriction and for non-scientific reasons. Many scientists and ethicists are now questioning the validity of the deadline. Is it an ethically justifiable point to end research? Or is it merely a public policy tool to limit research that previously was only hypothetically possible? Others believe the guideline is justifiable and suggest that science and the desire to obtain scientific knowledge alone should not be the factor determining permissibility of human embryo research past day 14. Instead moral, ethical, and societal considerations should be a part of the discussion.

In this workshop, we will bring together a group of distinguished scholars in developmental biology, philosophy, bioethics and public policy to assess the 14-day rule for human embryo research through scientific, ethical, legal and social perspectives. The goal will be to create a framework that national bodies and  non-governmental funding organizations should review to help inform their thinking when approaching regulations and guidelines. Project outcomes will include a consensus document, an open-access policy report, and several peer-reviewed articles. The resulting dialogue will have long-lasting ethical, legal and social implications, affecting the future of much biological research and thus patient care.