Splitting embryos on the slippery slope: ethics and public policy.

Ruth Macklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Neither the George Washington University embryo splitting experiment nor the technique of embryo splitting itself has ethical flaws. The experiment harmed or wronged no one, and the investigators followed intramural review procedures for the experiment, although some might fault them for failing to seek extramural consultation or for not waiting until national guidelines for research on preembryos were developed. Ethical objections to such cloning on the basis of possible loss of individuality, possible lessening of individual worth, and concern about potential harm to the resulting children are discussed and challenged, as are objections to the creation of embryos for the purpose of genetic diagnosis. Many of the ethical questions raised by the George Washington experiment are similar to those posed by existing reproductive technologies that allow the simultaneous production of several embryos. A multidisciplinary group should consider whether regulation of cloning is needed, and laws should be enacted to prohibit a commercial market for all frozen embryos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalKennedy Institute of Ethics journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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