To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89–90), which future projects involving provision of eggs to research in exchange for payment of in vitro fertilisation treatment costs are expected to benefit from a study of participants' experiences.[HL5976]
Since making the award for the research project “Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer” to the University of Newcastle, the MRC has not funded further projects involving similar work. The MRC stated, when making this award, that it should not establish a precedent for other cases. In assessing any proposals to the MRC that may involve such research in future, the MRC's Council, and its Ethics, Regulation and Public Involvement Committee, will take account of the findings of the MRC-funded social science study as well as the outcomes of other high-quality work in this area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Drayson on 5 May (WA 95–96) and by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89–90), how the views, values and experiences of other women who provide eggs for research will continue to be studied until April 2011 if the project to which their eggs will be donated is due to terminate towards the end of 2009. [HL5977]
The Medical Research Council (MRC) has recently agreed a one-year extension to the duration to the University of Newcastle for the research project “Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer”. The project, which was previously due to end on 31 October 2009, is now expected to end on 31 October 2010. The duration of the separate social science study, which aims to learn from women's experiences and to inform future research involving egg donation and payment of IVF treatment costs, was also correspondingly extended. The social science study will end six months later than the research projects to allow data collected as the research project progressed to be analysed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89–90), whether it is standard practice for social science studies to be funded by the Medical Research Council instead of the Economic and Social Research Council; and how the social science study concerned can be demonstrated to be independent of research funded by the same body that takes place at the same university. [HL5978]
The Medical Research Council's charter states that the MRC may “promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research and related post-graduate training in the biomedical and other sciences, with the aim of maintaining and improving human health”. The MRC does support social science where it is relevant to its mission.
The MRC-funded social science study, “An investigation of the experiences of potential in vitro fertilisation (IVF) donors in egg sharing for SCNT”, was specifically commissioned by the MRC to learn from women's experiences in relation to the separately funded and separately managed research project and to inform future research involving egg donation and payment of IVF treatment costs. The findings of the social science study will also inform the MRC's assessment of future applications proposing similar or related work. The MRC considers that Dr Haimes and her team at the University of Newcastle are ideally placed to undertake this work, being highly respected in their field and having an understanding of the local environment. The MRC has impressed upon both research teams the requirement that they should be completely independent of each other with no principal investigators in common.