Skip to main content

Embryology

Volume 693: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the creation of an animal embryo that has been altered by the introduction of one or more human cells comes under the reserved matters set out in the Scotland Act 1998, bearing in mind that an embryonic animal-human chimera that is destroyed before half the gestation or incubation period has elapsed does not come under the remit of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. [HL4273]

The Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) regulates procedures applied to protected animals for experimental and other scientific purposes that may cause the animal pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. Protected animals are defined under the Act to include any living vertebrate other than man which has reached a specified developmental stage. For mammals, this is when half the gestation or incubation period for the relevant species has elapsed.

An animal embryo altered for an experimental or other scientific purpose by the introduction of one or more human cells would be governed by the provisions of the ASPA once it reached the halfway point of gestation or incubation because for the purposes of the Act it would be considered to be a living vertebrate other than man. The subject matter of the ASPA is a reserved matter under Part II B7 of Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998.

Section 1(3) (b) of the ASPA enables the Secretary of State by order to alter the stage of development at which an animal attains protected status under the ASPA, therefore allowing an animal in its embryonic form to become a protected animal and subject to the regulation of the Act. In the light of that power, scientific procedures applied to animals at an earlier developmental stage are covered by the reservation.

We therefore take the view that the creation of an animal embryo altered for an experimental or other scientific purpose by the introduction of one or more human cells falls within the subject matter of the ASPA for the purposes of the Scotland Act 1998 and is a reserved matter.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 19 June (WA 29), how many children have been born using embryos created since 1991.[HL4472]

Information on the number of embryos that developed to a live birth is not held centrally or by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). Data on the total number of treatment cycles, the number resulting in a live birth, and the number of embryos created are shown in the following table. A treatment cycle will have involved the transfer to the patient of multiple embryos, up to a maximum of three. The live birth outcomes include multiple as well as singleton births.

Total number of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment cycles, embryos created and treatments resulting in live births 1991 to 2004 1

Treatments involving fresh (non-frozen) embryos

Treatments involving frozen embryos 2

Non-treatments 3

Year

Treatment cycles

Embryos created

Treatment cycles with live birth outcome

Treatment cycles

Treatment cycles with live birth outcome

Non-treatment cycles

Embryos created

1991

5,948

26,543

822

696

105

-

-

1992

16,022

75,456

2,114

2,233

252

-

-

1993

18,860

92,809

2,757

2,939

376

-

-

1994

21,345

106,425

3,144

3,491

402

-

-

1995

24,753

126,078

3,856

4,548

542

-

-

1996

27,428

148,691

4,765

5,994

691

-

-

1997

27,811

146,066

4,933

6,178

707

-

-

1998

29,078

163,206

5,584

6,445

781

-

-

1999

28,212

163,840

5,833

6,602

844

804

575

2000

28,591

170,406

5,981

6,877

908

976

728

2001

28,812

176,947

6,171

7,415

1,017

898

603

2002

29,781

178,794

6,708

7,639

1,070

756

724

2003

30,069

179,906

6,924

7,449

1,178

713

968

2004

32,141

185,409

7,123

7,956

1,167

694

1,038

Notes:

1 2004 is the most recent year for which information is available.

2 Embryos used in these cycles may have been created in previous years as part of fresh treatment cycles.

3 These are IVF cycles that, although started, did not progress to embryo transfer. These embryos may have been used in a patient's later frozen treatment cycles or for embryo donation. No data are held for years 1991-98.

Source: HFEA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 19 June (WA 29), why no data are held regarding embryos created using cell nuclear replacement (cloning) as part of a research project.[HL4473]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does not routinely collect data on the number of embryos created using cell nuclear replacement, as they are not used within treatment services but are created as part of a research project. The HFEA requires research centres to keep these data locally and for them to be made available to the HFEA upon inspection and under periodic reporting regimes.