HHS Removes an Administrative Requirement for Human Fetal Tissue Research Proposals

Funding News Edition: May 05, 2021
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In 2019, HHS introduced a new requirement for extramural research grant applications and contract proposals including use of human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions: that an HHS ethics advisory board review and approve the research before NIH could award funding. We covered the announcement in our January 8, 2020 article “More Details on Human Fetal Tissue Policy Implementation.”

Effective immediately, HHS no longer requires review and approval by an ethics advisory board for research proposing use of human fetal tissue. Accordingly, HHS will no longer convene the NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board.

Two other Guide notices from 2019, which established procedures for identifying, budgeting, and justifying the use of human fetal tissue in a research grant application, remain in effect. Refer to Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research and Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research for those instructions.

Also, investigators must still obtain informed consent from the donor for any NIH-funded research using human fetal tissue, as required by NIH Policy on Informed Consent for Human Fetal Tissue Research. Be aware that, depending on your locality, you may be subject to additional federal, state, or local laws and regulations, including prohibitions on the payment of valuable consideration for such tissue.

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