Cryopreserved Embryos and Dignitas Personae : Another Option?

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22 (4):367-389 (2012)
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Many of the thousands of human embryos currently in cryogenic storage will sooner or later be discarded, often after being experimented upon. Others will remain in storage indefinitely, left there by parents who have no plans either to bring them to term or to offer them for adoption. These facts, coupled with a commitment to the basic moral equality of all human beings at all stages of development, generate a pressing question: What should be done for these embryos whose vital activities have been suspended and whose futures look so bleak? This paper offers a case that allows some of these cryogenically stored embryos to thaw and die, allows disposal of their remains in a manner that reflects their status, and is morally acceptable in that it is consistent with the principles that many accept as governing the removal of life-sustaining treatment in end-of-life cases.



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Patrick Tully
University of Scranton

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