Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Public guides to the Codes of Practice published today

Issue date: 
05 October 2017

The first public guides to the Human Tissue Authority’s (HTA) Codes of Practice have been published today.


The aim of the guides is to set out the basic rights a person has when dealing with an establishment regulated by the HTA. This includes who can give consent for different activities, rights to information and options for using and disposing of tissue. The guides also explain how the use of human tissue is regulated in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

This is the first time the HTA has published information on the Codes of Practice for members of the public. Previously, the HTA’s regulatory information, including the Codes, has focused on giving professionals practical guidance on human tissue legislation. Publishing the guides will help make the rules around using human tissue accessible to everyone.

There are eight guides in total, which cover human tissue law and the HTA’s guiding principles. They also cover the use of human tissues, organ and bodies for the following specific activities:

  • Organ Donation and Transplantation

  • Post-mortem examinations

  • Research

  • Anatomical examination

  • Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem cell donation

  • Public Display

Allan Marriott-Smith, Chief Executive of the Human Tissue Authority, said:

Appropriate consent is fundamental to the use of human tissue.

Through these guides, we aim to help the public understand their rights so they can make informed choices about how their tissues are used.

We also hope these guides will be of use to those we regulate. We know staff at HTA-licensed establishments regularly have conversations with members of the public about the use of bodies, organs and tissues. The guides can help support these important conversations and encourage individuals to make decisions that are right for them.


Notes on the Human Tissue Authority (HTA)

The HTA is a regulator set up in 2005 following events in the 1990s that revealed a culture in hospitals of removing and retaining human organs and tissue without consent. The legislation that established us not only addressed this issue but also updated and brought together other laws that relate to human tissue and organs.

The Human Tissue Authority regulates the use of human tissue and organs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The interests of the public and those we regulate are central to our work. Our aim is to ensure the safe and ethical use of human tissue and organs, with proper consent.

Notes on the HTA Codes of Practice and Standards

  • The HTA produces Codes of Practice for professionals across the sectors we regulate, to give them advice and guidance on how to meet our Standards.

  • The Codes also give guidance on the regulatory requirements for organ and bone marrow donations from living people.

  • The Codes of Practice and Standards provide professionals with information about how HTA-licensed organisations and HTA-licensed activities should operate.

News type: 
Last updated on: 22 Jul 2018