Human Fetuses, Fetal Tissue, Embryos, and Embryonic Cells

The research described in papers submitted to any of the APS publications that involve the use of human fetuses, fetal tissue, embryos, or embryonic cells must adhere to U.S. Public Law 103-43, Section 498B(a) and Title 45, U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46, Protection of Human Subjects, Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office for the Protection from Research Risks, unless regulated by more restrictive state or local laws. In addition, the study must meet all these criteria:

  • The researcher may not be involved in any decisions as to the timing, method, and procedures used to terminate the pregnancy or determining the viability of the fetus at the termination of the pregnancy. Inducements, monetary or otherwise, may not have been offered to terminate pregnancy and valid informed consent must have been obtained from the donor.

  • Vital functions of the fetus cannot be artificially maintained and the heartbeat or respiration of the fetus cannot be terminated as part of an experiment.

  • Activities involving a dead fetus, macerated fetal material, or cells, tissue, or organs excised from a dead fetus shall be conducted only in accordance with any applicable state or local laws regarding such activities.

  • The acquisition of embryonic cells from in vitro fertilization must adhere to any applicable state or local laws.

  • Authors must state in the methodology section of the paper that the study received approval from the IRB or equivalent ethical review body. Authors must also state how and from where the tissue or cells were obtained.


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