Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Baronesses in Waiting, HM Household; Labour)
My Lords, requirements for consent to the creation, keeping and use of embryos, and consent for treatment or research, is one of the cornerstones of the 1990 Act, and is carried forward by the Bill. The provisions relating to when consent will be required and the content and form of such consent are set out in Schedule 3 to the 1990 Act.
The Bill sets out to ensure that human and human-admixed embryos may only be created for research purposes, and only where the person to whom the cells belong gives their explicit consent. These requirements have been introduced to reflect the special status of the embryo. No one can give consent on behalf of an adult who lacks capacity, and, for the same reasons, I do not believe that a child's cells should be used to create embryos or human-admixed embryos without that child's own consent.
If a child is incapable of giving consent to the creation of an human or human-admixed embryo themselves, because they are too young to do so, it would be wrong for any person, including the parents, to make that decision for them, given the significance of creating an embryo using their genetic material.
I have heard the powerful statements from the noble Lords, Lord Patel and Lord Walton of Detchant, but the Government take the view that we should not, in any circumstances, presume that a person's cells can be used in the creation of embryos without their consent or knowledge. I therefore invite the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.