The French government has set in place a law which allows scientists to create embryonic stem cells from "spare" IVF embryos. The deputy minister for research, Fran?s d'Aubert, says that similar work was being undertaken around the world and that it would not be realistic to prevent it". The research, however, must be directed towards the development of treatments for serious diseases.
Until the new law comes into effect early next year, scientists will only be allowed to work on imported stem cell lines. It is estimated that there are 120,000 frozen IVF embryos in France which have accumulated over the past 15 to 20 years. According to The Scientist magazine, 55% of these could be used for research.
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