These cells were developed from an isolated retina of a baby boy about 18 weeks gestation, aborted in October 1985 in the Netherlands. The designation stands for Primary human Embryonic Retinal cells, Clone 6.
In 1985, Dr Alex van der Eb gained access to a 18 week gestation aborted fetus; “mother wanted to get rid of the fetus, father unknown.” Dr van der Eb chose to sample the baby’s retina because studies had shown not long before that human embryonic retina could more readily be transformed. Dr van der Eb describes the sourcing of the cells for PER.C6:
So I isolated retina from a fetus, from a healthy fetus as far as could be seen, of eighteen weeks old. There was nothing special with the family history or the pregnancy was completely normal up to the eighteen weeks, and it turned out to be a socially indicated abortus—abortus provocatus, and that was simply because the woman wanted to get rid of the fetus (p. 91).
The mother was completely normal. That I know and had… there was nothing wrong with the mother. She had at least two children afterwards in the same hospital in Leiden, which were completely healthy. The father was not known, not to the hospital anymore, what was written down, and unknown father, and that was, in fact, the reason why the abortion was requested (p. 99).
There was permission, et cetera, and that was, however, was in 1985, ten years before this. This shows that the cells were isolated in October 1985, Leiden University in my lab (p. 91).
At that time already 1985, I should say, the cells were frozen, stored in liquid nitrogen, and in 1995 one of these [vials] was thawed for the generation of the PER.C6 cells. (p. 92).
I realize this sounds a bit commercial, but PER.C6 were made for that particular purpose. (p. 95).
[T]he PER.C6 cell was made by Brahm Bout and Frits Fallaux in 1995 from an embryonic retina cultures that were made from fetal tissue by me ten years before that, in 1985.
 FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (2001), Testimony of Dr. Alex J. Van Der Eb, Developer of Fetal Cell Line. See pp. 98-99. < https://cogforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/FDA-Transcript-HEK293.pdf>
 USA Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (May 16, 2001), pp. 91, 92, 99. See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170516050447/https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/01/transcripts/3750t1_01.pdf
 USA Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (May 16, 2001), p. 77. See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170516050447/https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/01/transcripts/3750t1_01.pdf