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About United Kingdom Policies & Human Biotechnology


The United Kingdom's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), established in 1991, is often considered a model for regulating and overseeing human biotechnologies. It licenses and monitors all research involving human embryos, and all facilities offering in vitro fertilization or storage of eggs, sperm, or embryos. UK law does not permit certain activities involving human embryos.

The HFEA's 21 members are appointed by UK Health Ministers; at least half of them are required to be neither doctors nor scientists involved in human embryo research or infertility treatment.

To grant a research license, the HFEA must be satisfied that the use of human embryos is "necessary or desirable" for an enumerated purpose. The HFEA inspects licensed clinics annually; produces a Code of Practice that guides clinics on proper conduct; keeps a formal registry for donors, treatments, and children born; and conducts public consultations on controversial applications.



New Surrogacy Bill Bars Married Couples with Kids, NRIs, Gays, Live-ins, Foreignersby Express News ServiceThe Indian ExpressAugust 25th, 2016The Union Cabinet proposes draft bill to only include "altruistic surrogacy" for childless couples who have been married for at least five years.
Scientists break 13-year silence to insist 'three-parent baby' technique is safeby Ian JohnstonThe IndependentAugust 11th, 2016The researchers conclude the technique "can produce a viable pregnancy." But the pregnancy they established resulted in miscarriage.
Human Gene Editing: A Timeline of CRISPR Cover StoriesWith recent gene editing tools, a number of high-profile media are featuring CRISPR on their covers and front pages. We gather highlights since early 2015, along with opinion polls, TV shows, and editorial board statements.
Why gene-therapy drugs are so expensiveby N.L.The EconomistAugust 3rd, 2016British pharmaceutical company GSK announced it will charge US$665,000 for a gene therapy for ADA-SCID (aka "bubble boy disease").
How British are you? Mapped: DNA testing shows the most Anglo-Saxon regions in UK by Hannah FurnessThe Telegraph [UK]July 28th, 2016AncestryDNA reveals British people's genealogies vary by region and are less clearly defined than people tend to think.
Puffing Cryonics in New Scientist?by Pete ShanksJuly 13th, 2016New Scientist is a popular science magazine that sometimes prioritizes popularity over science.
Two Decades After Dollyby Pete ShanksJuly 12th, 201620 years after the first cloned mammal was born, the US still does not have legal prohibitions on cloned people, or on heritable human genetic modification.
Frozen Eggs and Heated Debatesby Angel Petropanagos, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 12th, 2016Whatís missing and whatís misrepresented in public debates about social egg freezing?
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016"If someone were to proceed with [three-person IVF] now, my own view is thatís probably irresponsible."
Why science needs progressive voices more than ever by Alice BellThe GuardianJuly 6th, 2016After Brexit, science must speak up for those who have been marginalized.
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