Human tissue: Press Notice 2


Embargo: 00:01 Thursday 24 May 2007

Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659


The new Joint Committee on the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill has today issued a call for evidence as it starts its detailed analysis of the proposals in the Bill.

The Committee will be considering all aspects of the Bill including the broad issues of whether the proposals are necessary, sufficient and workable. They will also consider whether the Bill strikes the right balance between Parliamentary control via primary and secondary legislation as well as the proposal for a new regulatory body.

Some specific areas the Committee welcome evidence on include:

  • Views on the proposed new body the Regulatory Authority for Tissue and Embryos (RATE), whether the new body is the best way to regulate this area and whether the funding of the regulatory body allows it to carry out its functions effectively

  • Are the definitions used in the Bill for "embryo", "egg", "sperm", "gamete" and "nucleus" accurate and if not how should they be amended?

  • How should the Bill deal with licensing research on inter-species embryos?

  • Are the provisions in the Bill relating to the licensing of sex selection of embryos adequate?

Commenting Phil Willis MP, Chairman of the Joint Committee on the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, said:

"This new Committee has been formed to look in detail at the Government proposals put forward in the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill.

"It is vital this Bill is taken forward in the correct way to ensure Britain continues to be a world leader in medical research.

"We will consider the Bill in its entirety but particularly welcome written evidence on the proposals for the creation of a Regulatory Authority for Tissue and Embryos and how the regulator will relate to Parliament, the licensing of research on interspecies embryos, and the criteria the government have proposed for circumstances where sex selection of embryos would be allowed.

"We expect to get a good range of evidence on this Bill and will report to both House of Parliament by the 25th July and publish our findings in early August."

Notes to Editors

1. The members of the Joint Committee on the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill are:

Lords Members

Commons Members

Baroness Deech

Mr David Burrowes

Baroness Hollis of Heigham

Ms Katy Clark

Lord Jenking of Roding

Dr Robert Gibson

Lord Mackay of Clashfern

Robert Key

Baroness Neuberger

Chris Mole

Bishop of St Albans

Dr Doug Naysmith

Lord Selsdon

Geraldine Smith

Lord Turnberg

Ms Dari Taylor

Lord Winston

Mr Phil Willis (Chairman)

2. The call for evidence and other details of the Committee can be found at their webpage at:

3. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is? Friday 15 June 2007.

4. The draft Bill was presented to Parliament at Command Paper 7087 it can be found here: