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In this chapter on human germline editing in The Netherlands, we first discuss the Dutch legal framework and the institutional environment regulating research involving human gametes and embryos. We then focus on legal provisions within the regulation of human germline editing. Here we show that within Dutch law, embryos and fetuses are not regarded as legal subjects with independent legal rights. However, unborn human life, even in early stages, is not treated as just a legal object either. With regard to human germline editing, two bans dominate the national legislative and policy framework: the ban on intentionally modifying the genetic material of the nucleus of human germline cells for reproductive purposes, and the ban on the creation of embryos for research. Finally, we offer an overview and analysis of current public and political debates on this technology in the light of the tensions between self-determination and reproductive autonomy on the one hand (the ‘medical ethics regime’), and human dignity and respect for human life on the other (the ‘human rights regime’). We conclude with our suggestion that, in order to make this debate more inclusive and balanced, both the human rights perspective and the medical-ethical perspective should be properly represented.
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