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Amazing advances in medicine have produced some wonderful benefits. There is no question about that. But these same developments have produced their share of moral and ethical dilemmas as well.

Take the case of the several thousand embryos that were destroyed recently in London. The embryos were stored when couples sought scientific medical help in conceiving a child. Over the years, clinics specializing in these techniques had accumulated quite a storehouse of unused embryos. In more than 900 cases, the donors could no longer be traced.

Anticipating this situation, laws were passed five years ago that allowed unused and unclaimed embryos to be destroyed after five years. When the appointed day arrived, there was a good deal of consternation.

For one thing, the question of when life begins has been revisited. For many, there is no question that life begins at conception, and embryos are a product of conception, even if it occurs in a test tube.

The embryos were destroyed, but not before religious and scientific battles were waged. In the end, there is still no clear answer to the questions that were raised. It is another example of how lawmaking can come squarely in conflict with religious values.