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Human Fertilisation and Embryology

Part of Living Wage (Reporting) – in the House of Commons at 2:57 pm on 3rd February 2015.

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Photo of Rob Flello Rob Flello Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South 2:57 pm, 3rd February 2015

It is simply that this legislation will open up research that is illegal, as I shall describe in a moment. I also think there are greater concerns about generations down the line.

The EU clinical trials directive, which applies to all clinical work, states:

“No gene therapy trials may be carried out that result in modification to the subject’s germline genetic identity.”

The HFEA itself has said that this procedure does. In the legal opinion on the regulations, Lord Brennan QC has said that they are caught by the directive and that they are

“likely to be in breach of EU law” on clinical trials.

The Department of Health examined the legal opinion but rejected it, saying that the licence will not be granted for clinical trial but for treatment and therefore will not be caught by that law. Apparently, this is not about clinical trials and furthering the science but about going straight for treatment.

Lord Brennan’s opinion anticipated that. He set out the relevant paragraphs from the 2011 report on safety from the review panel set up by the Secretary of State to monitor the procedures to the HFEA, which said:

“Once assessed as safe to use in clinical practice, the panel strongly recommends that permission is sought from the parents of the children born from MST and PNT to be followed up for an extensive period” and that such permission should be sought from the children themselves once they are old enough. In the case of females, that should ideally be to the next generation. Those recommendations should also apply to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for mitochondrial DNA genetic disease.