House of Lords written question – answered on 21st April 2008.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 19 March (WA 44), how the necessary organisational structure of a viable embryo has been determined on the basis of empirical studies of primate embryos; and whether they will place in the Library of the House a list of references to all peer-reviewed research papers which support the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's decision on this matter.

Photo of Lord Darzi of Denham Lord Darzi of Denham Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority came to the conclusions on outgrowing embryos after taking account of the views of a range of scientific and clinical experts. Studies in the 1970s demonstrated that on a collagen surface the inner cell mass retains its 3D structure while on plastic it becomes completely flat. It was concluded that the retention of a 3D structure is key to its continuing to develop normally and form a recognisable embryo in vitro.

(Reference: Hsu YC (1971) Post-blastocyst differentiation in vitro. Nature. 14;231(5298):100-2).

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