A call for thoughtful discussion to justify or extend controversial 14-day rule

In 1979, the Ethics Advisory Board of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (the precursor to the Department Health and Human Services) proposed the so-called 14-day rule, which sets a hard line on how long fertilized embryos can be cultured outside of the womb. The rule has since become the de facto international guideline for all human embryo research and, in light of recent scientific advancements, many are calling policymakers to revisit it. Kirstin Matthews, Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, writes that now is the time for thoughtful debate to justify the existing rule or extend it.