16 February 2006
The HFEA (Human Fertility and Embryology Authority) held an open meeting on the 15th February to consider issues related to the procurement of gametes and embryos for research, most notably the provision of eggs for therapeutic cloning research. The official HFEA recommendation in advance of the meeting was to support the extension of current gamete donation and egg sharing schemes to include the use of the donated gametes in research.
The donation of eggs for research is a contentious issue. Presently, women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can be asked to donate eggs generated by ovarian stimulation that are not used for implantation, either for use by infertile couples who cannot produce their own eggs, or for certain research areas that do not involve the creation of human embryos (and are therefore not regulated by the HFEA). Now two research centres at the universities of Newcastle and Edinburgh have asked the HFEA for permission to request egg donation for these purposes from women undergoing IVF treatment, and also to solicit