Society for Pediatric Pathology

NIH Guidelines in Fetal Tissue Research

The SPP Perinatal Committee would like to inform SPP members about changes in the NIH guidelines for the use of fetal tissue in research. As the pathologist is often the professional dispensing human tissues to researchers, this information is very important. The NIH now requires that all newly funded NIH research protocols using human fetal tissue from “elective abortions” (not defined) undergo additional vetting procedures including approval from an NIH Ethics Advisory Board and proper consent of the patient. Human fetal tissues include placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid if obtained from the process of elective abortion.  Confirmation of these steps is essential before dispensing human fetal tissue for NIH funded projects.