Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre


PARTS International Research Network

The Provision and Acquisition of Reproductive Tissue for Science (PARTS) International Research Network was launched by Erica Haimes in March 2009.

PARTS is a network of researchers across the world. They investigate the social, ethical and legal issues that arise from the use of human eggs, embryos, sperm, and fetal tissue in scientific research.

Such an international collaborative network means that practice and policy in each country will benefit from knowledge and experience from across the world.

The aim is to more effectively address the central ethical, legal and social questions raised by the provision and acquisition of reproductive tissue for science.

If you are interested in joining us in PARTS, email erica.haimes@ncl.ac.uk

Using reproductive tissue in science

Reproductive tissues are used for a variety of scientific purposes, including:

  • the improvement of fertility treatments
  • the development of stem cell research
  • aiding understanding of the genetic basis of early development

However such science is much debated precisely because of the use of such tissue.

It has also been argued that we need to look more carefully at the processes and circumstances through which scientists acquire, and through which others provide, this tissue for research.

Social, legal and ethical questions

This network addresses such questions as how to identify:

  • best practice in both acquiring and providing reproductive tissue for research
  • which practices provide the most effective ethical protection for providers
  • the risks of these practices
  • how can such practices be improved
  • where the balance of ethical protection should lie (eg with the embryo, the provider, the scientific goals)



We also have extensive networks of colleagues doing similar work elsewhere.

We've held international symposiums in Newcastle and Rotterdam.