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Orders of the Day — Human Fertilisation and Embryology

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 19th December 2000.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 3:41 pm, 19th December 2000

I can certainly confirm that embryos are not permitted to develop beyond 14 days. That is very clear under the law. Moreover, the stem cells, once extracted, cannot possibly develop into human embryos or babies.

As long as IVF continues, hundreds of thousands of spare embryos will be created. Most are destroyed. If Parliament votes against these regulations, hon. Members will deny couples the choice to donate their spare embryos to stem cell research for spinal injury or stroke. Those embryos will be destroyed instead.

Of course embryo research should not be permitted for just any old thing. That is why the regulations specify serious disease. We are talking not about the common cold but about spinal injuries, burns, osteoporosis, stroke, cancer, heart disease—about serious disease and disability.

I believe that those who support IVF, and those who support the current law, should support these new regulations too.