Embryology

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th 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 Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, Jane Ellison, on 8 January (HC Deb, cols 267–8), whether the published evidence regarding differences between human and macaque eggs and early embryos reveals that macaque eggs are more sensitive than their human counterparts to proposed manipulations for replacing mitochondria; if not, how the data indicating that macaque zygotes do not survive the pronuclear transfer process well suggest that human zygotes might fare any better; when the further advice from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s Expert Panel about the safety and efficacy of those techniques will be publicly available; and what consideration they have given to discussion of the safety of undertaking such techniques in humans by international regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.

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

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that its Expert Panel considered the issue to which the noble Lord refers and reached the view of the appropriateness of models using macaque eggs on the basis of published research, as referenced in its report of March 2013 that can be found on the HFEA’s website at:

www.hfea.gov.uk/6372.html

Additional information about survival rates was set out in the Written Answer provided by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health to the hon. Member for Enfield Southgate, David Burrowes, on 8 January 2014 (Official Report, cols. 267-8W). The Department has asked the HFEA to reconvene the Expert Panel to review its advice about the safety and efficacy of pronuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer and to provide the Department with a report by end of May. This will be published on the HFEA's website in due course.

The HFEA has also advised that it is in contact with the Food and Drug Administration in the United States about this issue.

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