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Volume 702: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 12 May (WA 109–10) regarding culture on a collagen surface, whether the layer of feeder cells used for outgrowing embryos is always either completely free of collagen or lacking any similar nurturing effect. [HL4060]

It is up to Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) licensed centres to ensure they have protocols in place to ensure they comply with Sections 3(3)(a) and 3(4) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. This is discussed and checked on a case-by- case basis when the HFEA inspects these research centres. Methods for embryo culture and stem cell derivation will vary according to the aims and objectives of the specific research project.

The intention of embryonic stem cell research projects, which involve the culture of outgrowing embryos, is to derive stem cells from a flat layer of cells, not to nurture the development of an embryo.