Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (743)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

743. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if a moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing, that is, changing heritable DNA in sperm, eggs or embryos to make genetically modified children, will be supported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18895/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In October 2017, the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research, based on the published General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health is currently conducting a review of the General Scheme as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, which began in January of last year. The Joint Committee intends to report thereon before the summer recess and the recommendations in its report will be considered during the ongoing process of drafting this Bill in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.

Part 7 of the General Scheme outlines specific conditions and restrictions relating to research and activities involving the editing of the human genome. Under the General Scheme, where the genome of a human gamete or embryo has been edited such that the genetic change could be passed on to children and future generations, then it is prohibited to use that gamete or embryo in providing AHR treatment.

Part 9 of the General Scheme clarifies that contravening this provision would constitute an offence.