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In Vitro Fertilisation

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL5506, tabled on 9 March 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 26 January (HL4228), why multiple letters submitted to the Mitochondria Review Policy Team at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that are included as non-confidential written evidence submitted to the HFEA’s Expert Panel in 2011 were addressed to Ms Hannah Darby; in what capacity Ms Darby had been employed by either the HFEA or the Expert Panel; whether such evidence was received by Ms Darby on behalf of Authority members, the HFEA Executive or the HFEA’s Expert Panel; why Ms Darby had also personally written to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA); whether the information solicited from the MHRA was for the benefit of Authority members, the HFEA Executive or the HFEA’s Expert Panel; who was the Senior Policy Officer at the HFEA to whom Dr David Keefe had written on 24 March 2014; why the personal identity of that addressee had been redacted from non-confidential evidence submitted in 2014; and how the addressing of all such correspondence reflects how the Expert Panel has been independent of the HFEA.

Answered on

23 March 2015

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the individual in question provided secretarial support to the Expert Panel convened by the Authority during the preparation of each of its reports in 2011, 2013 and 2014. All of the activities referred to by the noble Lord were to support that activity

and the provision of administrative support is both common for such reports and entirely proper.

Unnecessary personal data was redacted from the evidence submitted before

publication by the Expert Panel. The terms of reference for the Panel are available on the HFEA website at:

http://www.hfea.gov.uk/6372.html