Advances in Medical Ethics

Advances in Medical Ethics
Open Access

ISSN: 2385-5495

+44 1300 500008


Human Embryonic Stem Cell Science in Iran: Understanding the perceptions of the moral status of Human Embryos in the research context

Mansooreh Saniei

This article is grounded on a large empirical study of bioethics and regulatory policy of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research in Shi'a Iran. This case study in five research and academic institutions used in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore the view of stem cell (SC) scientists and other stakeholders related to hESC research and governance in this Muslim country. In fact, Iran has one of the most permissive policies on hESC research among Muslim states, while the country's legislation drawing on the Islamic faith. This article illustrates how Iranian SC scientists and policy-makers perceive the moral status of human embryos in the research frame. To this aim, themes that appeared as turning points in interview discourses on the nature of embryos consist of (1) reflections on whether the embryo is “human”, “potentially human”, a “collection of cells” or a “living entity”; (2) the distinction between the embryo inside and outside the womb; (3) the distinction between the embryo before and after ensoulment; and (4) a comparison of the ethics of human dignity and of healing. Based on the empirical evidence, this work therefore expands and refines the theoretical ethical foundation or mutual interaction between science, biopolitics and society in Iran

Published Date: 2018-09-03;