SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

No. 12 – Session 2003-2004                 20 January 2004

HUMAN REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND THE LAW:

AN ONLINE CONSULTATION

Cloning, sex selection, germ-line therapy, donor anonymity, embryo splitting, stem cells, surrogacy, artificial wombs and male pregnancy: these and many other issues will be tackled in the Science and Technology Committee’s consultation on human reproductive technologies and the law, which will go live on 22 January. This will be  the first stage of a major inquiry by the Committee.

The Committee will be inviting the public to give their views on 25 scenarios, each one designed to provoke discussion on the way the UK regulates and legislates fertility treatments and research using embryos. The website can be found at www.tellparliament.uk.

Speaking ahead of the consultation, Chairman of the Committee Dr Ian Gibson said, “Every week we hear how science and technology are challenging UK legislation on fertility treatment. These are challenging issues and we are not convinced the experts have all the answers. Are we stretching human morals too far? Why does fertility treatment need regulation that the rest of medical practice does not? We don’t know, but we are hoping the public will tell us.”

The Committee will be launching the online consultation at a debate on “Sex Selection: When and Why?”, chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy. This will take place on Thursday 22 January 2004, 10.30 am, at the Dana Centre,165 Queen’s Gate, London.

The Hansard Society will act as independent moderators for the online forum, which will run for six weeks.

Further information on the inquiry and the work of the Committee can be obtained from Committee staff on 020 7219 2793/4, [email protected] Previous press notices and publications are available on the Committee’s internet homepage: www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_and_technology_committee.cfm

Notes for Editors

• Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Committee is empowered to examine the Aexpenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies@. The Committee was appointed on 12 November 2001.

• The Hansard Society is an independent organisation established to promote effective parliamentary democracy. The Hansard Society’s Edemocracy Programme has pioneered methods of Parliamentary online discussion enabling citizens to feed their views and experiences into parliamentary discussion.

• The Committee’s Inquiry into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law was announced on 24 October 2003, press notice no. 45, session 2002-03.