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Embryology

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th June 2009.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 3 June (WA 87—8), whether outgrowing embryos could not be used to derive embryonic stem cells by Roslin Cells Limited if the latest inspection report for that centre does not contain details of the embryo culture method used, and if no licence permits the culture of a "live human embryo" beyond 14 days or the appearance of the primitive streak (whichever comes first).

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 20 April 2009 (WA 329) and by Lord Darzi of Denham on 24 June 2008 (WA 227) and 3 June 2009 (WA 87—8), how the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority determines a centre's compliance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 in relation to embryo culture when the method used for embryo culture is not described.

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 20 January (WA 196—7) and 3 June (WA 87—8), if inspection reports of research centres licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) indicate that no embryonic stem cell lines have been derived from cytoplasmic hybrid embryos, and if the HFEA monitors both the use of embryos in research and the culture of their cells as part of its research inspection process, why an inspection report does not indicate whether a stem cell line has been derived using a method for which stem cell derivation is the stated aim when the method entails culture of outgrowing embryos beyond 14 days.

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 advised that at all inspections, the authority's inspectors are required to check that there is a procedure in place to ensure that embryos are not cultured for longer than 14 days or after the appearance of the primitive streak.

In respect of the culturing of embryos and stem cell derivation, the HEFA has confirmed that it has nothing further to add to the responses given to the noble Lord on 3 June 2009 (WA87-8) and 24 June 2008 (WA227).

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