4. Conclusion


In the assessment of the various and different criteria that are employed to assess the status of the human embryo it is of essential relevance that this embryo has a biologically human status from conception. This status already implies the intrinsic finality of the generation of a human person, leaving aside the question of whether the embryo is a human person from conception. Whatever the case, the embryo is a living being whose development, guided by the genome that is present and active from conception onwards, takes place in an autonomous, co-ordinated, continuous and gradual way. An indirect humanisation is hardly compatible with the fact that the specific identity of the human being is intrinsically made up both of the spiritual dimension and the material dimension, above all given that the biological foundation of the physical dimension, the DNA, is present from conception onwards. Embryology and genetics provide indications that the embryo is a person under way. With respect to the specific identity, it is a human person. In addition, the DNA is the biological basis of the numeric identity. As regards its numeric identity, the embryo has a broad potential that still has to be actualised. This, however, does not remove the fact that it is already a human being under way. Although it is impossible to demonstrate empirically a personal presence from conception, philosophical reflection on the bio-anthropological state of the human embryo indicates an incongruence of indirect or gradual humanisation with the vision of the human individual as a substantial unity of spirit and body.