Embryology

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st July 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 Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 6 July (WA 100-1), which report of an inspection by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) covers the work described in the poster by Dr Daniel Brison, Dr Susan Kimber and Dr Maria Camarasa that was presented to the HFEA's Scientific and Clinical Advances Group on 14 June 2007; and where the relevant inspection report is publicly available.

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 since the earlier Answer on 6 July (WA 100-1), it has been informed that St Mary's Hospital, Manchester was deriving stem cell lines from the embryonic masses that form when an embryo outgrows its structure at the time of the authority's inspection on 26 September 2007.

The method the centre used for stem cell derivation was checked during the inspection but was not outlined in the inspection report. The inspection notebook required the inspector 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 by checking the centre's protocol, speaking to staff and checking laboratory records. Inspection reports are for licence committees to determine a centre's compliance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, licence conditions and the HFEA code of practice. The reports focus on areas of compliance and non-compliance and, therefore, are not intended to be detailed scientific documents with a description of every protocol used. For this reason, not all inspection reports contain details about the stem cell derivation method used.

The latest HFEA inspection reports are published on the authority's website at www.hfea.gov.uk. Previous inspection reports are available upon request to the HFEA. The HFEA has informed me that it holds research inspection reports for St Mary's Hospital, Manchester for inspections that took place on 19 October 2005, 19 September 2006, 26 September 2007 and 17 October 2008.

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