Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act

According to the Department of Health the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act’s key provisions are:

  • ensure that all human embryos outside the body—whatever the process used in their creation—are subject to regulation.
  • ensure regulation of “human-admixed” embryos created from a combination of human and animal genetic material for research.
  • ban sex selection of offspring for non-medical reasons. This puts into statute a ban on non-medical sex selection currently in place as a matter of HFEA policy. Sex selection is allowed for medical reasons—for example to avoid a serious disease that affects only boys
  • recognise same-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos. These provisions enable, for example, the civil partner of a woman who carries a child via IVF to be recognised as the child’s legal parent.
  • retain a duty to take account of the welfare of the child in providing fertility treatment, but replace the reference to “the need for a father” with “the need for supportive parenting”—hence valuing the role of all parents.
  • alter the restrictions on the use of HFEA-collected data to help enable follow-up research of infertility treatment.
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