Buying and selling human embryos and fetuses: first yes from the EU
A draft regulation of the European Parliament (SoHo) approved by a majority of liberals, socialists and greens definitively opens the cross-border market of "substances of human origin" including gametes, embryos and fetuses. With the risk that national legislation could be bypassed by virtue of Brussels' indications

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The European Parliament approved one in the first instance proposal for a regulation that equates human embryos with cells and tissues, defining them as "substances of human origin", and opens the door to eugenics and industrial uses.

The proposed regulation on quality and safety standards for substances of human origin intended for human application (or SoHO regulation) was approved on 12 September by a large majority of socialists, greens and liberals, despite the alarm raised by various expert organizations.

Officially the aim of the new measures would be to "give greater protection to citizens who donate or are treated with blood, tissues or cells". Actually the regulation authorizes the free market in human embryos, fetuses and gametes, which are included in the categories of tissues and cells.

Many MEPs have tried to give the illusion that the proposal is ethical by insisting that the donations must always be "voluntary and unpaid", providing only a reimbursement of expenses for the donors or - more often - the donors. But it can easily be done disguise a compensation by calling it “reimbursement”: by authorizing it you effectively open the door to commodification of human life. 

In fact, to ensure that the European Union has its own independent supply of these “substances”, as stated in the sheet of the approved measure, "the MEPs ask for a European strategy coordinated by the Commission to guarantee its availability, a European list of substances for human use or of human origin (SoHO) in short supply, and the establishment of national emergency and supply continuity plans”.

Under the pretext of creating “an efficient and safe environment for blood transfusions and organ transplants throughout the Union”, the EPP (European People's Party) rapporteur, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, he stressed that his party “recognizes and supports the existence of a European fertility market to justify cross-border exchanges of gametes, embryos and fetuses in the event of a shortage in a Member State".

The approved text therefore represents an important step towards the recognition of a fertility market, as long hoped for by numerous lobbies.

The rules it also opens the market in which embryos and fetuses travel across the European Union to be “compensated donated”, i.e. sold to the highest bidder. Of course, Member States remain responsible for decisions on ethical issues such as in vitro fertilization, but at the same time, by entrusting the Commission with responsibility for the implementation of the regulation, there is concrete risk that Brussels will circumvent the prohibitions present in the legislation of individual countries.

The final text of this draft has yet to be finalized. To come into force, it will have to be re-approved by Parliament without any changes. It is expected that several countries will reject this text which creates a dangerous precedent for the buying and selling of body parts and human life: among them Italy, Hungary and Poland, which will hold the presidency of the European Council in the second half of 2024 and the first half of 2025.

Item here, translation by Maria Celeste

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