Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Code of Practice on the import and export of human bodies and tissue


For more ifnromation, please see our current Codes of Practice and Standards

Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, the HTA is responsible for preparing a Code of Practice on ‘the import, and the export of (i) the body of a deceased person, or (ii) relevant material which has come from a human body’.

The Code of Practice on the import and export of human bodies, body parts and tissue provides guidance for the sectors involved in the practice of import and export. The Code was drafted by members of the HTA’s working group on import and export who were drawn from the research, academic and private sectors, as well as members of the Authority.

Download the draft Code of Practice on the import and export of human bodies, body parts and tissue

The consultation on the Code ran from 3 October 2006 until 12 January 2007.

The HTA also held a workshop event in London on 5 December 2006 for HTA stakeholders to further feed into the consultation process.

Consultation responses

This was a public consultation which was open to anyone to respond. The HTA considers it important that professionals and non-professionals alike should comment on the Code of Practice. We wanted the Code to be accessible to, and used by, as wide a range of people as possible to ensure transparency in tissue-related activities and to develop a better understanding of the expectations of professionals and the public.

We welcomed views on the following issues, which were relevant at this time:

The Code is designed for different groups of users. Parts of the guidance are repeated, because users may refer only to the section(s) which apply to their own particular circumstances. Is this structuring helpful?

Underlying principles

The section on ‘Underlying Principles’ supports the HTA’s general values on both import and export. These include principles governing consent, ethical approval, respect and dignity. Are these appropriate where the import and export of human tissue is concerned? Should the HTA lay down and endorse any additional principles?

Department of Health consultation

The Department of Health is currently consulting on draft Regulations to transpose EU Directives covering donation, procurement, testing preservation, storage and distribution of tissue and cells for human application into UK legislation. This consultation closes on 13 October 2006. Electronic copies of the consultation documents are available from:

Since the final Regulations could have helped shape the final version of the HTA import export Code of Practice, we also encouraged a response to the Department of Health consultation in addition to the HTA consultation.

Thank you to everybody who provided feedback on the draft Code of Practice. The final version of the Code has now been published – import export Code of Practice.


Response date: 
18 November 2014
Last updated on: 21 Aug 2018

Consultations archive