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Embryology

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 5 January 2010

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 9 November (WA 111) and the ensuing letter from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Chief Executive on 9 November, how many human eggs were expected to be used under research licence R0122 in the initial licence application and subsequent renewals or extensions of that licence; how many human embryos were expected to be used under that licence; and how the expected numbers compared to the actual usage of human eggs and embryos respectively under that licence. [HL858]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the Newcastle Fertility Centre at LIFE applied for research licence R0122 in March 2000. The centre indicated, in its initial application, that the project would use 400 embryos and 0 eggs per year. A two-year licence was granted, covering the period 21 June 2000 until 30 June 2002.

The centre applied to renew this licence in February 2002. In its renewal application, the centre indicated that the project would use 300 embryos and 0 eggs per year. A three-year licence was granted, from 1 April 2003 until 30 March 2006. The centre also reported, as part of its renewal application, that between 16 October 2000 and 29 January 2002 it had used 275 embryos and 0 eggs in the project.

A progress report submitted during the course of the renewed licence stated that 227 embryos and 0 eggs were used in the project during the period 6 May 2003 until 16 March 2004.

The HFEA is not statutorily obliged to hold data on the number of embryos and eggs used in licensed research projects and these data are not recorded on the authority’s register. However, research centres submit snapshots of data, regarding the number of embryos and eggs used in research projects, to the HFEA in licence applications and progress reports. This allows the HFEA to ensure that the proposed use still fulfils the criteria of the research licence.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 9 November (WA 111), what were the numbers of fresh and failed-to-fertilise eggs expected to be used under research licence R0152 in the corresponding time periods, as described in the initial licence application and subsequent renewals or extensions of the licence. [HL859]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the dates in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) inspection report for licence R0152 that quoted “a lack of suitable oocytes for use in the study”; how many human oocytes had been used in total according to that report; whether they will place a full copy of that report in the Library of the House; and whether oocytes that a researcher might subsequently deem to be unsuitable would be erased from the HFEA's records of total oocyte usage. [HL860]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the Newcastle Fertility Centre at LIFE applied for a research licence R0152 to study the derivation of human embryonic stem cells using nuclear transfer and parthenogenetically activated oocytes (eggs) in 2004. The centre indicated, in its initial application, that the project would use 100 fresh oocytes and 900 failed-to-fertilise oocytes per year. A one-year licence was granted for the period 18 August 2004 until 31 July 2005.

The centre applied to renew this licence in April 2005. The centre indicated, in its renewal application, that the project would use 100 fresh oocytes and 900 failed-to-fertilise oocytes per year. A three-year licence was granted for the period 1 August 2005 until 31 July 2008.

The centre applied to renew this licence a second time in April 2008. The centre indicated, in its renewal application, that the project would use 400 fresh oocytes and 200 failed-to-fertilise oocytes per year. A three-year licence was granted for the period 1 August 2008 until 31 July 2011.

The HFEA has also advised that the report that quoted “a lack of suitable oocytes for use in the study” was the report of the inspection of the centre carried out in June 2005. This report covered the work carried out since the licence was granted in August 2004. This report stated that 26 fresh oocytes and 10 failed-to-fertilise oocytes had been used in the research project.

Centres are now asked to provide information on the number of failed-to-fertilise oocytes and embryos donated for use in a licensed project and the number actually used in the licensed project.

The HFEA does not plan to place a full copy of the report in the Library. The latest inspection reports for every licensed research project are available on the authority’s website (www.hfea.gov.uk).