par Englert, Yvon
Référence Revue médicale de Bruxelles, 37, 4, page (375-378)
Publication Publié, 2016-09
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The status of the human embryo has always be a subject of philosophical and theological thoughts with major social consequences, but, until the 19th century, it has been mainly an abstraction. The arrival of the human embryo in vitro, materialized by Louise Brown's birth in 1978 and above all by the supernumerary embryos produced by the Australian team of Trounson and Wood following the introduction of ovarian stimulation, will turn theoretical thoughts into a reality. Nobody may ignore the hidden intentions behind the debate, as to recognise a status to a few days old embryo will immediately have a major impact on the status of a few weeks old foetus and therefore on the abortion rights. We will see that the embryo status, essentially based as well on a vision on the good and evil as on social order, cannot be based on a scientific analysis of the reproduction process but comes from a society's choice, by essence " arbitrary " and always disputable. This does not preclude the collectivity right and legitimacy to give a precise status and it is remarkable to observe the law is careful not to specify which status to give to the human embryo. It is more thru handling procedures and functioning rules that the law designed the embryo position, neither with a status of a person, nor of a thing. It nevertheless remains true that there is a constant risk that the legislation gives the embryo a status that would call into question it's unique characteristic of early reproductive stage, jeopardizing at once the hard-won reproductive freedom (reproductive choice) as well as freedom of research on embryonic stem cells, one of the most promising field of medical research.