Article L.2151-1of the Public Health Regulations: The conception of an embryo in vitro or its constitution by human embryo cloning for research purposes is prohibited.
Article L. 2151-5: In principle, research on embryos is prohibited.
However, exceptionally, if the woman and man forming the couple give their consent, studies not damaging the embryo may be authorised provided that certain conditions are respected. By special dispensation, and for a period limited to five years (beginning on February 7th 2006), research may be carried out on embryos and embryonic cells if such research is likely to lead to major progress in the development of treatments and provided that it could not have been carried out by an alternative method of comparable efficacy, based on current scientific knowledge.
Research can only be carried out on embryos conceived in vitro by assisted reproductive technology, and which are no longer required by the parents. Such research can only be carried out if and after both members of the couple from which the embryo was created provide written consent or if and after such consent is obtained from the sole survivor of that couple, once these individuals have been duly informed of the possibility of donating their unwanted embryos to another couple or of stopping their storage. Research can only be carried out if the corresponding protocol has been authorised by the Biomedicine Agency, based on expert advice. The decision to authorise embryo research is based on the scientific pertinence of the research project and the conditions under which it will be carried out, taking into account both ethical principles and the interests of public health.
The embryos used for research must not be transferred for the purposes of gestation.
Article L. 2151-6: The importation and exportation of embryonic and foetal tissues and cells for research purposes is subject to prior authorisation from the Biomedicine Agency.
Article L. 2151-7: All organisations responsible for storing embryonic stem cells for scientific purposes most hold an authorisation from the Biomedicine Agency.