Brussels, 15 Apr 2003
New legislation permitting cloning for therapeutic purposes and research using human in vitro embryos, was adopted by the Belgian parliament on 3 April.
The legal text specifies that under certain conditions, research using in vitro embryos no older than 14 days is permissible. With a view to monitoring and assessing medical and scientific research in this area, members of parliament agreed to the establishment of a federal commission.
With regard to cloning, although the new legislation authorises cloning for therapeutic purposes, it categorically prohibits all instances where cloning is carried out for reproductive purposes. Furthermore, the text outlaws the use of human embryos for animal implantation or for commercial purposes.
The decision by the Belgian parliament reflects the current global trend of examining the ethical and scientific issues surrounding cloning and the use of human embryos with a view to drawing up legislation. Some 30 countries worldwide have banned cloning of any kind while other countries like the UK and Belgium are allowing therapeutic cloning under strict conditions.