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EMBRYOLOGY: Follow the rules

11 August 2017  

In the conclusion to a two-part analysis, Seamus Burns looks at the legal controls for egg sharing, together with issues as to consent and the requirements in relation to egg freezing

Part one: 'Dangerous ground', FLJ168, July/August 2017

Section 12(e) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (HFEA 1990) sets out one of the general licensing conditions applicable to the three types of licences under HFEA 1990, namely treatment, storage and research licences granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). It specifies that no money or other benefit shall be given or received in respect of any supply of gametes, embryos or human admixed embryos ‘unless authorised by directions’. This is effectively a general prohibition on the commercialisation of supplying eggs (ie gametes), preventing their supply in return for money or other benefit. However the HFEA has issued a direction that allows a person to receive a ‘benefit in kind’ as a consequence of egg sharing. The directions issued by the HFEA are downloadable from its website (see

Last modified on 10 August 2017