In the Netherlands, from now onwards, Amsterdam University Hospital will ask all couples who attend the hospital for an abortion whether they wish to donate their foetus for research purposes at the said institution. The establishment intends to “create a foetus biobank” aimed at two types of research: the study of genetic anomalies in foetuses with genetic handicaps, and the study of foetal development during pregnancy for those foetuses that are“normally formed”.
Until now, the hospital has used foetuses donated spontaneously by couples for medical science, “but the number of foetuses obtained in this way is no longer sufficient,” according to embryologist, Dr. Bernadette de Bakker. She explained that “the foetuses must be brought to the biobank as quickly as possible”, “as soon as the parents have given their consent and said their goodbyes”. Their anonymity “is guaranteed”. She also states that these foetuses “will be treated with the utmost respect”, because “a 24-week old foetus measures approximately 30 cm, and can hardly be referred to as just a few cells”.