Human embryo research in Belgium: An overview

Guido Pennings, Seppe Segers, Sophie Debrock, Björn Heindryckx, Velichka Kontozova-Deutsch, Usha Punjabi, Hilde Van De Velde, Andre Van Steirteghem, Heidi Mertes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper presents an overview of the numbers and types of human embryos used in research projects in Belgium between 2007 and 2015. To obtain these data, all research proposals approved by the Federal Commission for Medical and Scientific Research on Embryos In Vitro were analyzed. Since 2007, 15,811 embryos were used for 36 research projects. In total, 10,492 (66%) fresh supernumerary embryos (unfit for transfer or freezing) were used, 4,083 (26%) frozen supernumerary embryos (donated by parents whose child wish was completed or abandoned) were used and 1,236 (8%) embryos were created for research. Most projects focused on research into embryo development. Fresh supernumerary embryos were mainly used for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. Frozen supernumerary embryos were almost exclusively used for research into embryo development and for hESC research. Embryos created for research were used for research into embryo development, oocyte research, research into cryopreservation of oocytes and hESC research.

Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)316-323
Number of pages8
JournalTijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Embryo research
  • Ethics
  • Human embryo


Dive into the research topics of 'Human embryo research in Belgium: An overview'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this