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Embryology

Volume 713: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 16 October 2008 (WA 67–68) and Lord Drayson on 5 May 2009 (WA 95–96), what advances have been made in improving the efficiency of somatic cell nuclear transfer with human oocytes, where those advances have been published; and how many fresh or failed-to-fertilise human oocytes have been used in research to pursue such advances since research licence R0152 was originally granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. [HL5712]

In deciding whether to grant or renew licences for research in this area, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) determines whether the proposed research and the use of embryos is both necessary and desirable. The proposed techniques to be used to perform somatic cell nuclear transfer, and any relevant publications referred to by peer reviewers, may form part of this consideration.

The HFEA has provided the following data on the use of fresh and failed-to-fertilise eggs in research under licence R0152:

Period (inspection report date)

Fresh eggs used

Failed-to-fertilise eggs used

1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007 (May 2008)

19

56

30 April 2006 to 30 April 2007 (July 2007)

9

26

30 April 2005 to 30 April 2006 (July 2007)

66

593

11 August 2004 to 3 July 2005 (July 2005)

36 (total figure)

In deciding whether to grant licences for research in this area, the HFEA ascertains whether the embryo research is both desirable and necessary at the time the assessment is made. Any application for a licence renewal involves a check on whether the particular proposed use of embryos still fulfils these criteria. This is also part of the assessment made by HFEA peer reviewers.

Records of publications in this area are not collected centrally by the department or the HFEA.