HFEA confirms legal position on use of fetal ovarian tissue

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has confirmed that the use of fetal ovarian tissue in fertility treatment is currently banned in the UK. 

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 amended the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act to include a ban on the use of fetal ovarian tissue in fertility treatment.

HFEA Chair, Suzi Leather says:

"The use of fetal ovarian tissue raises difficult social, ethical, legal and scientific concerns. After the HFEA public consultation in 1994, it was clear that in the current social climate it would be difficult for any child to come to terms with being created by aborted fetuses."

The HFEA has not banned the use of fetal material to produce eggs for research purposes if fully informed consent is given, but the HFEA has not yet granted any licenses for this research.

Ends


Notes to editors

The HFEA was set up in August 1991 as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.  The HFEA's principal tasks are to license and monitor clinics that carry out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), donor insemination (DI) and human embryo research. The HFEA also regulates the storage of gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos. 

Page last updated: 12 March 2009

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