Health: Mitochondrial Disease

House of Lords written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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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 Earl Howe on 29 August 2013 (WA 359), 30 October 2013 (WA 259) and 24 February (WA 175–6), how many of the terms employed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to refer to either pronuclear transfer and spindle-chromosomal complex transfer or the outcomes of those techniques they accept as valid; and what external advice and documentation they have relied on in reaching their conclusion that such procedures do not constitute genetic modification.

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

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that, at the request of the Government, it sought public views through a variety of public dialogue and consultation methods on emerging In vitro fertilisation (IVF)-based techniques to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease.

The public's views on this issue are outlined in the Authority's advice for the Government, which can be found on its website at:

www.hfea.gov.uk/6896.htd

This exercise did not seek to explore the validity of particular scientific and technical terms.

The HFEA convened an Independent Oversight Group to ensure the consultation was balanced and accessible, details of which can also be found on the Authority's website:

http://mitochondria.hfea.gov.uk/mitochondria/about-the-consultation/independent-consultation-oversight-group/

Its role included advising on the materials and wording used during the public dialogue exercise.

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