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It is argued that the policy of excluding from further life some human gametes and pre-embryos as "unfit" for existence is not at odds with a defensible idea of human equality. Such an idea must be compatible with the obvious fact that the "functional" value of humans differs, that their "use" to themselves and others differs. A defensible idea of human equality is instead grounded in the fact that as this functional difference is genetically determined, it is nothing which makes humans deserve or be worthy of being better or worse off. Rather, nobody is worth a better life than anyone else. This idea of equality is, however, not applicable to gametes and pre-embryos, since they are not human beings, but something out of which human beings develop.
Journal of Medical Ethics © 1999 BMJ