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Journal of Medical Ethics special issue on the ethics of stem cell-derived gametes

Recent scientific developments suggest that it may become possible to create viable human gametes from human stem cells. It has been suggested that this will lead to the development of a range of new fertility treatments as well as new strands of research. More speculatively, some have argued that it may

  • Allow the radical enhancement of human reproductive capabilities, for example, by allowing same-sex couples or post-menopausal women to have genetically-related offspring
  • Provide new means of creating ‘designer babies’, for example, by easing constraints on the number of embryos that can be produced in IVF.

In a feature article forthcoming in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Robert Sparrow discusses the possibility that stem cell technologies might be used to facilitate what he calls ‘in vitro eugenics’; the deliberate and selective breeding of multiple generations of human embryos in vitro. The Editors of the Journal of Medical Ethics now invite submissions for a special issue addressing the ethical questions raised by Sparrow’s paper and by stem cell-derived gametes more generally.

We are seeking both (1) short responses to Robert Sparrow’s article and (2) stand-alone articles which advance a sustained ethical or scientific argument. Articles of the first type should meet the Journal’s requirements for Commentaries and those of the second type should meet the requirements for Papers or Brief Reports. These requirements can be found here.

The deadlines for submission are 24 June for Commentaries and 6 September for Articles and Brief Reports. All submissions should be uploaded via the Journal’s online submission system. On submission, please select the Special Issue ‘Stem Cell-Derived Gametes’.

Any queries about the proposed special issue can be directed to

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