After a two-year enquiry, an Australian parliamentary panel has made recommendations on how the country should regulate stem cell research. Six of the ten panel members voted for fairly permissive legislation, which would allow scientists to derive stem cells from embryos donated by IVF patients, provided the necessary consent was obtained. Work on these cells would, it was recommended, be strictly regulated. The rest of the panel opposed the use of these embryos, saying that research could take place on existing stem cell lines, six of which are known to be in Australia.
The panel did not rule out therapeutic cloning, the technique of creating cloned embryos for stem cell therapy, but it has suggested that a three-year moratorium on the practice be imposed, after which time it will be reappraised. The panel all agreed that research into adult stem cells should continue. The report is likely to be influential in future federal and state policy making.