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Embryology

House of Lords written question – answered on 8th May 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 Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 21 April (WA 235), what role Dr David Thorne played in preparing the information leaflet on egg sharing for research that was made available on the website of the North East England Stem Cell Institute; and in what capacity has Dr Thorne been employed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority; and

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 22 January (WA 28—29) and 21 April (WA 235), how the information leaflet on egg sharing for research provided by the North East England Stem Cell Institute was approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA); what is the risk of hospitalisation recorded in the minutes of the HFEA research licence committee meeting September 2006 with regard to the number of eggs suggested in the NESCI information leaflet in order to ensure that the chance of pregnancy is not significantly reduced; and how this risk compares with the overall incidence of hospitalisation for the corresponding number of eggs described in the journal Human Fertility (volume 10, issue 3, pages 183—87).

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 (HFEA) has informed me that Dr David Thorne was employed as a licensing manager between January 1994 and August 2000. The HFEA holds no information on Dr Thorne's activities since that date.

The HFEA has advised me that the information leaflet on egg sharing for research was provided by the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life. The leaflet was approved by the HFEA's research licence committee via correspondence with HFEA staff, concluding on 11 July 2006.

The overall incidence of hospitalisation where 20 or more egg follicles develop, described in the journal Human Fertility, volume 10, issue 3, pages 183-187, is 14.5 per cent. For women who develop fewer than 20 follicles the risk is described in the article as less than 0.1 per cent. The HFEA has informed me that the written representations considered by the research licence committee set out this information on risk, which has subsequently been published.

I have also been informed that there is an error in the minutes of the HFEA research licence committee held on 14 September 2006, which incorrectly recorded the risk of hospitalisation, following superovulation due to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, as 1 in 2,000 for "women who grow 20 or more follicles". The correct phrase should be "less than 20".

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