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Foetuses And Foetal Material

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many nursing homes have his approval to supply foetuses or foetal material to institutions and organisations; and if he will list the purposes for which the foetuses or foetal material are required;(2) what forms of final disposal of foetuses or foetal material are used by institutions and organisations supplied by nursing homes; and what systems or checks his Department has for ensuring that disposal is done in an approved manner;(3) how many National Health Service hospitals supply foetuses or foetal material to institutions and organisations; and if he will list the purposes for which the foetuses or foetal material is used;(4) what forms of final disposal of foetuses or foetal material are used by institutions and organisations supplied by National Health Service hospitals; and what systems or checks his Department has for ensuring that disposal is done in an approved manner;(5) what fees are charged by National Health Service hospitals or private nursing homes to institutions and organisations for the supply of foetal material and foetuses; and whether such fees are subject to the approval and monitoring of his Department;(6) what arrangements are in operation for obtaining the consent of parents before the disposal of foetuses or foetal material to institutions and organisations by National Health Service hospitals and private nursing homes; and what steps his Department takes to ensure that such arrangements are followed.

The Department approves the arrangements for the supply of foetal material by nursing homes approved under the Abortion Act 1967. Arrangements for the supply of material by NHS hospitals are the responsibility of individual health authorities.The use and disposal of human foetal material in this country is controlled in accordance with the code of practice recommended in the report of the advisory group on the use of foetuses and foetal material for research (Peel report 1972). The code of practice stipulates amongst other things that a precondition of research should be that there is no objection on the part of the parent and that there is no monetary exchange for foetuses or foetal material. In the private sector the Department satisfies itself that these requirements will be met before approval is granted.Private sector places currently approved to supply foetal material are as follows:

Approved place and material supplied to

Purpose

Calthorpe Nursing Home

Birmingham Children's HospitalResearch on chorionic villus sampling
East Birmingham Hospital
Birmingham Maternity Hospital

Park View Clinic

Foetal Tissue Bank, Royal Marsden HospitalVarious projects on virology, immunology, oncology, biochemistry and molecular biology

Robert Nursing Home

Birmingham University Medical SchoolThe study of genetics, umbilical vessels, comparative histology, cancer and foetal development

The final disposal of material is a matter for the receiving organisations themselves.