§ Mr. John Marshall
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to issue guidelines about fertility treatment to unmarried couples or to individuals who already have children.
§ Mr. Sackville
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's code of practice gives guidance to fertility treatment centres. This includes advice on the factors to be considered by clinicians when considering an individual's suitability for treatment. These include the welfare of any child who may be born as a result of treatment and of any existing children in the family.
There are also guidelines for clinicians published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. In the light of well-publicised recent cases, the Chief Medical Officer has already had discussions with the president of the royal college about these guidelines and these discussions will continue.
The Government have made it clear that health authorities should think carefully before providing fertility treatment to people without a stable family background. If there is evidence that this is not being followed, we will examine what further action needs to be taken.