asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 September (WA 353–54), what date has been set by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for its public consultation on the culture of embryos for more than 14 days, given that the authority indicated to Lord Alton of Liverpool on 22 September that it was seeking evidence to determine whether outgrowing embryos have the potential to implant and develop if transferred to a woman. [HL5468]
I understand from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that it has no plans for a public consultation. The authority has indicated that it is always willing to take into account evidence available to stakeholders which may shed light on policy and licensing issues.
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Triesman on 29 October 2007 (WA 144), 12 November 2007 (WA 1–2) and 12 December 2007 (WA 58) regarding funding for the development of patient-specific stem cell therapies, why financial inducements are used to obtain the highest grade eggs for use in nuclear transfer at Newcastle, if each of three licences recently issued to Sydney IVF Ltd (309712, 309713 and 309714) require that human eggs to be used are those excluded from clinical use because they are unsuitable for fertilisation or have not fertilised normally; and [HL5469]
How many eggs have been used for nuclear transfer under Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority research licence R0152; how many embryonic stem cell lines have been so derived; and how this compares to the stipulation in licences issued to Sydney IVF Ltd (309712, 309713 and 309714) that no more eggs may be used if no embryonic stem cell lines have been established after using 1,600 eggs. [HL5470]
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does not set limits on the kinds of eggs which can be donated to research. Women donating eggs to research can either be non-patients or women who are patients receiving in vitro fertilisation treatment. They donate eggs which are suitable for fertilisation.
The HFEA reviewed its policies in this area in 2007 and came to the view that donation to research through an egg-sharing arrangement was appropriate, subject to certain safeguards to protect the donor. The report of this policy review can be found at: www.hfea.gov.uk/en/1417.htm.
The latest inspection report for research licence R0152 is available on the HFEA's website at: www.hfea.gov.uk/en/1368.html#17. The inspection report sets out the numbers of fresh and failed-to-fertilise eggs that were used in the project during 2007 and the expected numbers for 2008. During 2007, 56 failed-to-fertilise eggs were used and 19 fresh eggs. It is expected that during 2008, the project will use 200 failed-to-fertilise eggs and 400 fresh eggs.
No embryonic stem cell lines have so far been derived. The HFEA does not set a limit on the number of eggs which can be used in embryonic stem cell research, although its licence committees monitor the efficiency of the process used and the number of eggs used in them.
We cannot comment on the stipulations put on licences granted to the Sydney IVF Ltd.