HC Deb 26 May 1994 vol 244 cc295-6W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines her Department issues regarding the use of live aborted foetuses in scientific experiments;

(2) how many experiments on live aborted foetuses have been sanctioned by ethics committees since 1968.

Mr. Sackville

We are not aware of any experiments on live foetuses ex utero. Any research carried out on a foetus—that is, after termination under the Abortion Act 1967—is subject to the principles set out in the report "Review of the Guidance on the Research Use of Fetuses and Fetal Material" (Cm. 762), known as the Polkinghorne report. The report's code of practice is reproduced in the guidance issued to local research ethics committees. It stresses that issues relating to research or other use of the live whole foetus must be considered in a manner broadly similar to the way such issues are considered for children and adults.