World Health Organization

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The World Health Organization (WHO) and its governing body, the World Health Assembly, are specialized agencies of the United Nations that address issues of international public health.

In 1997 the WHO called for a global ban on human reproductive cloning.[1]

In 1999 a Consultation on Ethical Issues in Genetics, Cloning and Biotechnology was held to help assess future directions for the WHO. The draft guidelines prepared as part of this Consultation, Medical Genetics and Biotechnology: Implications for Public Health, called for a global ban on inheritable genetic modification.

In 2000 WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland reiterated opposition to human reproductive cloning.[2]

In September 2001 WHO convened a meeting to review and assess "recent technical developments in medically assisted procreation and their ethical and social implications." The review covered, among other items, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and cryopreservation of gametes and embryos.

In February 2002 WHO repeated their opposition to human reproductive cloning and cautioned against banning cloning techniques for medical research.

In October 2002 WHO established a Department of Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights to coordinate activities addressing bioethical issues.

Offsite links


  1. World Health Assembly, Resolution 50.37 (14 May 1997; not currently available on the web), reaffirmed by Resolution 51.10 concerning "Ethical, Scientific and Social Implications of Cloning in Human Health," World Health Organization (16 May, 1998)
  2. "Cloning in human health: Report by the Director-General," World Health Organization (10 December 2000)