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HFEA pays tribute to Baroness Mary Warnock

It is with immense sadness that we learn of the death of Baroness Mary Warnock, whose 1984 report identified the need for principles and limits to govern fertility treatment and human embryo research.

Sally Cheshire, Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK fertility regulator, said:

“We’re very saddened to hear about Baroness Mary Warnock’s death.  

“Mary Warnock was an exceptionally wise and practical moral philosopher whose pioneering work in both reproduction and educational special needs changed the policy landscape for millions of people. In the field of fertility she chaired the Warnock Committee, whose landmark 1984 report identified the need for principles and limits to govern fertility treatment and human embryo research in the UK. It was through the ‘Warnock report’ and the consequent Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act that the HFEA was established to make sure patients could access safe, licensed fertility treatment in the UK.

“Her work to balance the many different interests in this area for the good of patients and families are a true testament to her ethical commitment. As reproductive science and society face new and continually evolving challenges, the framework Mary Warnock set out in the 1980s still largely stands the test of time today.

"We at the HFEA and the millions of people around the world who have been able to create their much longed-for families through regulated fertility treatment, and do so safely, would like to pay tribute to Mary Warnock’s scholarship, public service and wisdom and send our deepest condolences to her family and friends.”

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Publication date: 16 July 2019

Review date: 16 July 2021