bpas respond to LIFE on Fetal Tissue Donation


 

Date: 9 September 2015

Dear Mr Sharpe

Further to your letter of 8th September, I hope the answers below to your questions are helpful.

1. How many women undergoing abortions with bpas consent to the donation of fetal material each year?

Since the start of our collaboration with HDBR in 2009, 1545 women have donated tissue following an abortion. (This number is accurate to April 2015)

2. At what point in the abortion pathway are women asked for their consent? Can we have a copy of the guidelines governing when and how this takes place?

Potential candidates for inclusion in research are invited to discuss this possibility only after they have consented formally to their abortion. Consent for the donation is collected separately, and can be withdrawn at any point before the material is collected.

3. Can we have a copy of the form presented to women to enable them to give explicit written consent to donate fetal material?

No. The consent forms are specific to the research projects and are the intellectual property of HDBR, not bpas.. You may be reassured that all materials that relate to research in our clinics are approved by thebpas Research & Ethics Committee, which operates within our Clinical Governance framework.

4. How are the operational costs incurred by bpas in the supply of donated fetal material covered?

The operational costs are small and bpas is content to absorb them as a modest contribution to our public benefit.

I am sorry that I was not aware that you had previously invited me to meet with you to discuss these issues. As you know, I am usually keen to debate the ethics and practice of abortion with representatives of your organisation, but I see little point in meeting on a one-to-one basis to discuss an issue on which we have such very divergent views.

Yours sincerely,
Ann Furedi
chief executive – bpas


 

Sent: 08 September 2015
Dear Mrs Furedi,

Thank you for your open letter to me of 02 September. On behalf of LIFE I would like to thank you for your transparent and straightforward response.

Continuing in that spirit and with our shared interest in the welfare of women in mind, it would help our understanding of the issues surrounding the donation of fetal material if you would provide us with the following information:

1. How many women undergoing abortions with bpas consent to the donation of fetal material each year?
2. At what point in the abortion pathway are women asked for their consent? Can we have a copy of the guidelines governing when and how this takes place?
3. Can we have a copy of the form presented to women to enable them to give explicit written consent to donate fetal material?
4. How are the operational costs incurred by bpas in the supply of donated fetal material covered?

I look forward to your reply and reiterate my invitation to meet with you to discuss these issues in more depth.

Yours sincerely,
Stephen Sharpe
Chief Executive Officer
LIFE


 

Sent: 02 September 2015
Dear Mr Sharpe,

On behalf of bpas, I am pleased to confirm that we support the work of the national Human Developmental Biology Resource (HDBR) and to confirm also that some women undergoing termination of pregnancy at bpas clinics have donated fetal material to its centre. We hope, and anticipate, that our involvement with this important work will continue.

As you will be aware, the HDBR is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, and is hosted by the Institute of Child Health in London and the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the University of Newcastle. The donated tissue they receive from us is used in the study of diseases, with current projects including investigations into cancer, congenital heart disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Donations of tissue are made voluntarily by women undergoing termination of pregnancy who provide their explicit written consent for the fetal material to be collected and used for research that is for the benefit of humanity . There is no commercial or financial gain from the collection for either donor or bpas.

Since you refer in your letter to ‘recent events with Planned Parenthood’, I would like to express just how much I deplore the misrepresentation of Planned Parenthood’s work in the USA by those who are opposed to abortion. I trust that you and your colleagues will feel able to report the information I have provided without recourse to similar dishonesty. We are extremely proud of our collaboration with HDBR and our involvement in this crucial area of research.

Yours sincerely
Ann Furedi
chief executive – bpas


 

Sent: 01 September 2015
Dear Mrs Furedi

In view of recent events with Planned Parenthood can you give me, on behalf of LIFE, assurance that no body parts of unborn children aborted in any of your UK clinics are passed on to any third party for any purpose.

I look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

Stephen Sharpe
Chief Executive Officer
LIFE


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