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Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception MSc

EVENTS

Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos

Progress Educational Trust
Great Hall, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
25 October 2016 5.45pm (refreshments), 6.30pm-8pm (discussion)
Alison Hume, Breast Care Nurse Specialist at the Edinburgh Breast Unit and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016 Professor Richard Anderson, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Edinburgh and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016 Alison McTavish, Cofounder and Nurse Manager at Aberdeen Fertility Centre and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016 Professor Allan Pacey, Trustee at the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and speaker at PET's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Tuesday 25 October 2016 Dr Mary Neal, Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Strathclyde's Law School and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016
A free-to-attend evening event in Edinburgh about preserving fertility when there is a medical need - when being treated for cancer or other conditions, when transitioning gender, or when entering a high-risk occupation.
The event is produced by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and supported by the Scottish Government. It will be chaired by Alison McTavish, with speakers Alison Hume, Professor Richard Anderson, Professor Allan Pacey and Dr Mary Neal.
Attendance is free, but advance booking is required. Please email Sandy Starr at to book places.
If tweeting about this event, please use the hashtag #PETfrozen. If you use Facebook, you can join the Facebook page for the event here.

Fertility preservation is an option offered to people who have an illness or an occupation, or who are undergoing a treatment, which places them at risk of infertility.
This is especially important in relation to cancer, because some cancers and many cancer treatments affect patients' fertility. It may also be appropriate following the diagnosis of any condition, or prior to any treatment for disease or injury, where there is a chance that the condition and/or the treatment could affect the reproductive system.
Fertility preservation can involve the cryopreservation (freezing) of eggs, sperm or embryos. It can also involve the freezing of tissue from the ovaries or testicles. This year, a cancer patient in Edinburgh became the first woman in the UK to have a child following a transplant of her frozen ovarian tissue.
Many experts and authorities, in the UK and elsewhere, have argued that every cancer patient should be given accurate information about risks to their fertility and how their fertility might be preserved. This is usually recommended regardless of whether or not there are local facilities for fertility preservation in the patient's vicinity. For example, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended that 'at diagnosis, the impact of the cancer and its treatment on future fertility should be discussed between the person diagnosed with cancer and their cancer team'.
In reality, however, not every cancer patient is given this sort of information. When the priority is treating cancer, there may be little time left to discuss fertility. And if cancer treatment is particularly urgent, then it may be unavoidable that patients' options are limited. Even so, there are worrying examples of clinicians seemingly neglecting to consider fertility, as well as examples of fertility preservation being impractical due to poor coordination of care between specialities.
Female cancer patients in particular say they are not given enough information about the risk posed to their fertility by treatment. A recent survey by the charity Breast Cancer Care found that more than half of younger women diagnosed with breast cancer have no discussion with healthcare professionals about fertility preservation options, despite the majority of these women undergoing chemotherapy (which can cause infertility). The same charity has previously estimated that thousands of breast cancer patients across the UK miss out on fertility referrals every year.
Other patients who may need fertility preservation include the small (but growing) number of transgender and transsexual people who wish to undergo gender reassignment while still retaining the option to have children. Fertility preservation may also be appropriate for people entering high-risk occupations.
This event will explore:
When fertility preservation should - and should not - be offered to patients.
What options exist for fertility preservation, how successful they are, and whether and to what extent they are (or should be) publicly funded.
Why some patients are not being counselled about the potential impact on their fertility of their disease and/or their treatment, and what can be done to rectify this.
What happens when a patient conceives with their partner and has embryos cryopreserved, if the relationship subsequently breaks down and there is a dispute over what should happen with the embryos. There have been numerous difficult court cases, in the UK and elsewhere, involving such scenarios.
What should happen to cryopreserved gametes, gonadal tissue or embryos in the longer term. There are three options at any given time - use these 'frozen assets' to try to establish a pregnancy, have them destroyed, or do nothing and keep the previous two options open.
What the future might offer, in terms of further innovations and new options for preserving fertility.
Earlier this year, PET organised a lively debate in Edinburgh about fertility preservation for non-medical reasons (listen to a podcast of that debate here). This follow-up event will explore fertility preservation for medical reasons.
In the PET tradition, much of the event's running time will be devoted to letting the audience put questions and comments to the speakers.
We expect this event to be popular - book now by emailing Sandy Starr at

SPEAKERS

Alison Hume Alison Hume, Breast Care Nurse Specialist at the Edinburgh Breast Unit and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016
Breast Care Nurse Specialist at the Edinburgh Breast Unit at Western General Hospital
Contributor to Breast Cancer Care's Fertility Toolkit

Richard Anderson Professor Richard Anderson, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Edinburgh and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016
Professor of Clinical Reproductive Science and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Reproductive Health
Consultant in Reproductive Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Clinic, and Lead Consultant Gynaecologist at GCRM Edinburgh

Allan Pacey Professor Allan Pacey, Trustee at the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and speaker at PET's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Tuesday 25 October 2016
Professor of Andrology at the University of Sheffield, and Head of Andrology at Jessop Fertility
Trustee at the Progress Educational Trust

Dr Mary Neal Dr Mary Neal, Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Strathclyde's Law School and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016
Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Strathclyde's Law School
Author of the forthcoming book The Jurisprudence of Pregnancy: Concepts of Conflict, Persons and Property, and coeditor of the forthcoming book Ethical Judgments: Rewriting Medical Law

CHAIR

Alison McTavish Alison McTavish, Cofounder and Nurse Manager at Aberdeen Fertility Centre and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016
Cofounder and Nurse Manager at Aberdeen Fertility Centre
Member of Scotland's National Infertility Group, of the Senior Infertility Nurses Group and of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's Licensed Centres Panel

PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS

The Scottish Government, supporter of the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Frozen Assets? Preserving Sperm, Eggs and Embryos', taking place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25 October 2016

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