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History of Human Embryonic Research



  • During the Reagan-Bush years (1981-1993), no non-therapeutic research using IVF-bred human embryos and no IVF research was governmentally subsidized.

  • An Ethics Advisory Board was required by law to approve any such grant, and no such permission was forthcoming.

  • The Ethics Advisory Board was allowed to go out of existence and no new appointees were named.

  • 25 states enacted laws regulating fetal research and 15 of these have laws controlling human embryo research.


Concepts of Pre-Embryo



  • The American Fertility Society (AFS) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have reinvented human embryology, which has been roughly 15 years in the making.

  • Classical embryology defined the beginning at the point of fertilization between egg and sperm.

  • In 1979, Clifford Grobstein, Ph.D., a developmental biologist, created a new term, the "preembryo", designed and used to dehumanize and isolate that tiny island of humanity, whose normal residence is in the womb, specifically to cut it off from the moral concern.

  • Grobstein, who is not a human embryologist, and The Reverend Richard McCormick S.J. formed an arbitrary Ethics Committee of the AFS in 1986, reconvened in 1990, and initially designed, then slightly amended and reaffirmed, statements removing a moral status and protection of the conceptus up to 14 days post-fertilization.

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