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Foetuses: Pain

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 204402, tabled on 20 December 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the point at which an unborn child can experience pain.

Answered on

10 January 2019

The Department has made no such assessment. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist’s guidance, ‘Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice’, published in 2010, concluded that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior to 24 weeks of gestation. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/rcogfetalawarenesswpr0610.pdf

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care