HFEA says effective consent must be given by both the man and woman for use of embryos in IVF treatment

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The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) has welcomed the Court of Appeal judgment today which confirms that effective consent must be given by both the man providing the sperm and the woman providing the eggs to allow storage and subsequent use of their embryos in IVF treatment.

Legally, clinics must have consent from both parties to continue to store embryos and to use them in IVF treatment. If either party withdraws their consent before the embryos have been used, the clinics must allow the embryos to perish.

The Court of Appeal has held that an embryo is "used" once implanted in a woman. Consent can therefore be withdrawn by either party up to that point.

Once a man or woman has withdrawn their consent, the HFEA requires the clinic to take all reasonable steps to inform both parties either in writing or by telephone that the embryos are going to be destroyed.

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