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Warnock Report

A sprial bound HFEA report, representing the Warnock report into IVF and embryologyIn 1982 a committee was established to inquire into the technologies of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryology. 

This was in response both to concern at the speed with which these technologies were developing, and also to the 1978 birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the first baby to be born using this technology.

The role of the committee was to develop principles for the regulation of IVF and embryology. The committee was chaired by the philosopher Mary Warnock, who would later become Baroness Warnock.

The committee concluded that the human embryo should be protected, but that research on embryos and IVF would be permissible, given appropriate safeguards.

The committee proposed the establishment of a regulatory authority with the remit of licensing the use in treatment, storage and research of human embryos outside the body. This body would later become the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

The findings of the committee were published in what is now referred to as the Warnock Report in 1984. In many ways, the Warnock report formed the basis for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.


Page last updated: 11 April 2009

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