§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many frozen embryos are currently in store; how many belong to parents with whom there is no longer any contact; what representations she has received from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority or individual clinics about the storage and future of frozen embryos; and if she will make a statement;
(2) when she expects to receive the report she has requested from the HFEA on the freezing of embryos; and if she will make a statement;
(3) if she will place a copy of the final recommendations and report of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority embryo freezing working group in the Library;
(4) which groups she has consulted on the fate of frozen embryos stored for more than five years.
§ Mr. Sackville
The number of embryos stored by individual licensed centres changes daily. Information collected by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority shows that some centres experience difficulties in maintaining contact with patients for whom they have stored embryos, for a variety of reasons. The authority will look at the practicalities involved and will consider whether further advice to licensed centres will be helpful.
England and Wales Offence Description/Legislation 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 Causing or allowing person under 18 to go abroad to perform for profit [Children and Young Persons Act 1933, sections 25 and 26] 3 — — 1 —
The authority's ethics committee intend to consult patients and licensed centres and will consider what further consultation is required. The committee will report to the full authority, which will let Ministers have its views as soon as the matter has been fully considered. Any action called for by Government will he taken in the light of the authority's report.
The working group on embryo freezing was an internal committee set up by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in 1993. The working group reported to the full authority in 1994. A report of its activities was included in the authority's annual report for 1994, copies of which are available in the Library.
§ Mr. Sackville
Parliament decided during the passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that the maximum statutory storage period for embryos should be five years. The first statutory five-year period ends next year, on 31 July 1996.
Regulations may provide for the storage period to he shortened or lengthened in certain circumstances. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is considering this issue.