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Volume 190: debated on Friday 3 May 1991

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans to lay regulations to bring the infertility treatment known as GIFT within statutory control.

The Government have no plans to take further steps to regulate GIFT at the moment, but we intend to keep this matter under review.Treatments subject to statutory control under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act include those which involve the creation of a human embryo outside the body and those which involve the use of donated or stored gametes or embryos. GIFT is not intended to secure the creation of an embryo outside the body. Where it involves the storage or donation of any gametes, GIFT will be subject to the licensing provision of the Act because it falls within the second category set out above. Thus provision already exists to safeguard those involved in treatment in these circumstances. But in other cases, for example, when the husband's sperm is used, it will not. Many centres offering GIFT will also have to be licensed under the Act because of other treatments they provide, for example, in-vitro fertilisation. This means that these centres will need to comply with the provisions of the Act and follow the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's code of practice.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking in respect of information about their donor parents for children born as a result of infertility treatment.

Regulations under section 31(4)(a) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 can require the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to give specified information at age 18 or later to an applicant born following treatment services involving the use of donated gametes.This raises profound issues which require wide-ranging consultation. We do not therefore propose to introduce regulations at this time, and donors will remain anonymous.