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The Use of Fetal Tissue in Research

By William Lawyer

Since early in the 1900s, tissue from preborn babies has been used in research, experimentation, and medicine. For most people, though, very little thought is ever given to how this tissue is procured, how it is used, and the impact it has on science.

What is human fetal tissue?

Human fetal tissue is biomatter and cells collected from preborn children at any stage of gestation. The tissue can come from stem cells, organs, body parts, and more. Most of the time this tissue is obtained from aborted babies, but it may be collected from miscarried children as well.

Definitions of fetal tissue are not always consistent and are sometimes altered to exclude certain types of cells for legal or ethical reasons. This allows companies to avoid restrictions that would ordinarily apply to fetal tissue research. For example, cells grown in a laboratory from older human fetal cell lines are not defined as fetal tissue by the National Institutes of Health.1

To read the remainder of this article, visit clmagazine.org/topic/medicine-science/the-use-of-fetal-tissue-in-research.

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