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Embryology

Volume 711: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 10 January 2008 (WA 217) regarding the separation between researchers and those carrying out a woman's infertility treatment, whether a researcher at a licensed centre would be permitted to give medication or collect eggs from patients; and what steps they have taken to ensure that personnel engaged in the treatment of patients are not also directly engaged in research with gametes or embryos from the same patients. [HL3769]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised me that where donated gametes are used for the purpose of research, the HFEA code of practice requires clinics to ensure that aspects of the clinical and research roles are separated, and that personnel giving medication and carrying out egg collection are qualified and competent to perform such tasks.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 18 May (WA 251), why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) sees no need to reiterate the public comments made by its former chair; and whether the HFEA still supports the comments of the former HFEA chair made in January 2004. [HL3859]

I have been advised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that the comments made by the former chair in January 2004 still stand.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 16 July 2008 (WA 153–4), 6 May (WA 117) and 18 May (WA 250), why it would be inappropriate for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to indicate how it might respond to potential licence applications, if the HFEA's Horizon Scanning Panel ensures that the HFEA is aware of potential licence applications in order to be prepared with an authority policy or position, and given that the HFEA previously consulted Dr P M Zavos's work. [HL3860]

I have been advised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that licence applications have to be considered by a licence committee of the HFEA; they are not considered by the authority as a whole. HFEA licence committees are required to consider individual licence applications on their merits, taking into account the circumstances of the particular application before them. These can include the character and qualification of the person responsible to be named on the licence, the suitability of the proposed premises, scrutiny of whether use of embryos is necessary or desirable to carry out that particular research project and scrutiny of the protocols and consent forms. Therefore, general indications regarding whether the HFEA would grant particular licences would serve little purpose.

When making policy the HFEA may take into account any relevant advice received from its advisory committees and its horizon scanning panel, which keeps abreast of a wide range of scientific work.