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Embryology

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 23 October (WA 100–1) and 21 November (WA 78) regarding relevant paragraphs in the Declaration of Helsinki and guidelines produced by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, whether they will seek to enshrine in primary legislation a simple prohibition of all such experiments that lack a compelling scientific rationale. [HL588]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 November (Official Report, col. WA 132) regarding the scope of Clause 4(2) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, whether, if this clause may cover techniques that require implantation of an embryo in a womb following injection of human embryonic stem cells into an embryo of another species in which the animal cells primarily produce extra-embryonic tissues so as to create a substantially human organism, it is envisaged that the 14-day limit may no longer necessarily apply. [HL701]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill provides that no embryo other than a permitted embryo may be implanted in a woman. This would mean that any embryo containing any animal material, even when that animal material would be destined to become extra-embryonic tissue, is prohibited from implantation into a woman. The Home Office would not permit the implantation of such an embryo into an animal. This reflects the Government’s commitment to a ban on reproductive cloning.

If greater regulatory control over this activity was shown to be necessary in future, then the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill provides the power to extend the remit of the 1990 Act, through the regulation-making power provided by new Section 4A(5)(e).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 November (WA 131) and 3 December (WA 159) regarding the need for fully informed consent on the part of women donating eggs for research, whether they will describe how the risks of adverse clinical effects associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome that were released by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority during its consultation in 2006 differed from those described in guidelines produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in September 2006; and [HL770]

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 November (WA 131) and 3 December (WA 159) regarding the need for fully informed consent on the part of women donating eggs for research, whether they will describe the incidents in which adverse clinical effects associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) have been recorded by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority at each respective licensed centre; and whether treatment has always been discontinued whenever OHSS was or is suspected. [HL771]

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Green-top Guideline No.5, on the management of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), contains detailed information on the symptoms, diagnosis and classification of severity of OHSS. This is a markedly different document from the public consultation document issued by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which gave a general description of the risks associated with egg donation. The HFEA has advised me that it does not believe there is anything contradictory between the two documents.

Information on the incidents of adverse clinical effects associated with OHSS occurring in each HFEA licensed centre, and whether treatment was discontinued where OHSS was suspected, is not routinely collectedly by the HFEA. However, I have asked the HFEA to make an analysis of the incident reports referred to in my Answer given on 5 December (Official Report, col. WA196) and I will write to the noble Lord with the result, and place a copy in the Library.