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Embryology

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 21 April 2008 (WA 232–36), 12 January 2009 (WA 95–97) and 20 January (WA 196–97), whether consultation of one research paper represents a broad range of available evidence in support of the authority's decision to permit culture of outgrowing human embryos beyond 14 days. [HL1058]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 September 2008 (WA 352–54), 12 January 2009 (WA 95–97) and 20 January (WA 196–97), whether the evidence presented to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority by Professor Trounson in support of his view regarding outgrowing embryos in culture beyond 14 days represents a broad range of available evidence. [HL1059]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 September 2008 (WA 352–54), 12 January 2009 (WA 95–97) and 20 January (WA 196–97), whether consideration was given by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority or the Department of Health to descriptions of the debate on Professor Trounson's view in an October 2002 report from the Australian Senate before evaluating his view. [HL1060]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 September 2008 (WA 352–54), 12 January 2009 (WA 95–96) and 20 January (WA 196–97), to what extent the broad range of available evidence considered by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority was based on commentary provided by a member of the Authority whose compliance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 was then in question; and what prior evaluation was made of potential conflicts of interest. [HL1061]

On the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) assessment of available evidence, in compliance with its statutory functions, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 20 January 2009 (WA 197). The HFEA informs me that with regard to Professor Alan Trounson, it has not considered the report of the Australian Senate. The views of Professor Trounson were sought by the HFEA because he is widely considered to be an expert in the field of embryonic stem cells.

HFEA members, including co-opted members of HFEA committees, are routinely asked to declare any interests regarding agenda items at the beginning of every committee meeting. The advice and views of all committee members are equally taken into account before the authority makes decisions. This is reflected in the minutes of committee meetings.