Who are the HTA?

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) regulates six key areas:

  1. Anatomy: Use of bodies for anatomical examination, teaching, and training.
  2. Post Mortem: Post-mortem examinations, tissue retention, and disposal.
  3. Public Display: Display of human bodies and tissue.
  4. Organ Donation and Transplantation: Organ and tissue donation, retrieval, and transplantation.
  5. Research: Use of human tissue in research.
  6. Human Application: Use of human tissues and cells for medical treatment.


We independently regulate organisations that remove, store and use human tissue for research, medical treatment, post-mortem examination, education and training, and display in public. We also give approval for organ and bone marrow donations from living people.

We monitor, inspect, and regulate organisations. Then we publish what we find. Where we find shortfalls, we work with organisations to ensure that improvements are made against an action plan. 

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) were created by Parliament as a non-departmental public body (otherwise known as an "arms'-length body") of the Department of Health and Social Care, and are overseen by an Authority of lay and professional members appointed by the Government.

Our vision

Our vision for the sector is the safe and trusted use of human tissue.

We believe that patients and families will have more confidence that their wishes will be respected, that organs and tissue used in treatment will be safe and high quality; and that tissue used for research or other purposes will be put to the best possible use, if they know there is regulation of human tissue and organs.

By fostering an environment of trust, we hope more people will donate their tissue for scientific and medical research, their organs for transplants, and their bodies for medical education and training. On that basis, we can help healthcare to flourish.

Our mission

Our mission is to be an excellent regulator for the use of human tissue with consent and safety, sustaining public and professional confidence, today and in the future.

We build on the confidence people have in our regulation by ensuring that human tissue and organs are used safely and ethically, and with proper consent.  There are many different types of human cells and tissue, including skin, body parts, organs, and bone.

Bodies, organs, tissue and cells can be used for many purposes including:

  • Treating patients with particular medical conditions.
  • Transplanting into people whose organs have failed.
  • Treating patients who have blood disorders like leukaemia with stem cells.
  • Researching causes and treatments for illnesses, such as cancer or diseases of the brain and nervous system.
  • Teaching students about the human body and training to develop the skills of surgeons.
  • Display in public, such as exhibitions and museums.
  • Finding out through post-mortem examination why someone has died, including examining their organs and tissue samples to determine the cause of death.