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Embryology

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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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 Earl Howe on 23 June 2010 (WA 184), how many cybrid embryos have been generated with eggs from non-human species in total according to records held by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA); and how many other classes of "admixed human" embryos have been generated.

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 7 November 2002 (WA 145), how many human embryos have been (a) created, (b) frozen, (c) destroyed, (d) implanted, and (e) experimented upon. since the passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the most recent information it holds shows that 155 embryos, defined as human admixed embryos by Section 4A(6)(a) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, have been created. No other forms of embryo creation, as defined by Section 4A(6), have been reported.

The HFEA has also advised that its register does not hold the information based on the specific categories listed in the noble Lord's question. The information as contained in the HFEA register on 14 July 2011, for the period ending 30 June 2010, which is the latest verified period, is shown in the following table.

Creation and Usage of Human Embryos 1991-2010
Created through all forms of IVF Stored for later use Discarded in the course of treatment Transferred for implantation Given for research
3,144,386 764,311 1,455,832 1,252,526 101,605

Notes:

1. The figures relate to activity that the HFEA began recording in 1991 and reflect, for example, that a number of embryos were already in storage at that time.

2. The HFEA has advised that figures are not collected routinely on the number of embryos allowed to perish, either because the statutory storage period has expired or because a patient had requested it.

3. HFEA has used the overall number of embryos created for any use. This includes embryos created by patients who do not want to start treatment immediately, e.g. cancer patients, and also embryos created specifically for research.

4. The numbers of embryos in each category in the table do not add up to the total number of embryos created because embryos can be included in multiple categories.

Source:Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

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