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21 years of the Progress Educational Trust (PET), informing debate on assisted conception and genetics

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This week at the Progress Educational Trust (23 June 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 Wednesday 7 September 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 Wednesday 7 September 2016

The Progress Educational Trust (PET) is delighted to announce that its next three public events will be:

Follow the links above for further information, and email to book places.

Press coverage of the Progress Educational Trust debate 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?'

Meanwhile, PET is getting its breath back after the success of its Edinburgh debate 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', which was supported by the Scottish Government. The debate saw Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva, Dr Angel Petropanagos, Dr Ainsley Newson and Professors David Baird and Jane Norman debate egg freezing and delaying motherhood.

This event received widespread press coverage, including:

Furthermore, Take a Break magazine has been asking its readers whether they agree with Dr Martins Da Silva's comments at the debate. PET is very proud to have brought this discussion to an audience that spans the Economist and Take a Break!

Sarah Norcross, Director of the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Commissioning Editor of PET's flagship publication BioNews

The 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?' debate was a satellite event of the World Congress of the International Association of Bioethics. In addition to running PET's debate, the charity's Director Sarah Norcross also spent a week in Edinburgh participating in three other Congress events:

Many Friends of PET and many contributors to PET's BioNews publication were involved in these events. Sarah enjoyed catching up with them and their work, and was especially glad of the opportunity to catch up with several PET people who are based overseas and rarely visit the UK.

Fertility Fairness, an organisation which campaigns for people to have comprehensive and equal access to fertility treatment

Besides these events in Edinburgh, Sarah has been busy discussing the funding of fertility treatment in her capacity as Co-Chair of the campaigning organisation Fertility Fairness.

The good news is, the Scottish Government is expanding the provision of publicly funded IVF from two cycles to three. Sarah has been quoted in the Daily Express saying 'Scotland now stands head and shoulders above the rest of the UK in terms of IVF provision', and quoted in the Belfast Telegraph saying 'we urge the rest of the UK to follow the Scottish Government's lead and to take immediate action to stop the rationing of fertility treatment'.

The bad news is, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group is reducing the provision of publicly funded IVF from two cycles to one. Sarah recently appeared on the BBC1 programme Look East, criticising this decision.

Daniel Malynn, Volunteer at the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Volunteer Writer at PET's flagship publication BioNews John Parsons, Trustee at the Progress Educational Trust (PET)

Elsewhere, Sarah went to the fertility clinic IVF Hammersmith together with PET Trustee John Parsons, and the two of them gave a presentation to clinic staff about PET and BioNews. Sarah also went to London's Park Theatre, with PET Volunteer Daniel Malynn, to see a play about infertility - The Quiet House by Gareth Farr. Look out for Daniel's review in a future edition of BioNews.

Sandy Starr, Communications Officer at the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Webmaster of PET's flagship publication BioNews Professor Joyce Harper, Director of University College London's Centre for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

PET Communications Officer Sandy Starr has also been busy at various events. Alongside PET Adviser Rachel Brown and BioNews Volunteer Writer Dr Katie Howe, he spoke at a Careers Day for graduate students organised by Professor Joyce Harper at University College London's Institute for Women's Health.

Sandy also attended the annual Press Officers' Conference held jointly by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, where people from biomedical organisations discuss how best to work with the media. And he went to the UK offices of Google for a course entitled 'Grow Your Charity Online', which was invaluable for a small charity like PET, that has to punch above its weight.

Professor Doug Turnbull, Director of the Wellcome Trust's Centre for Mitochondrial Research

Elsewhere in PET's orbit, mitochondrial donation pioneer Professor Doug Turnbull and his colleagues have published their latest research into the safety and efficacy of mitochondrial donation. This research has been covered in BioNews and reported widely elsewhere, and Sarah Norcross is quoted in BuzzFeed's coverage saying: 'The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority must now reconvene its expert panel to consider these findings. For the sake of patients hoping to be treated with mitochondrial donation, we hope that this will be done without delay.'

Professor Doug Turnbull, Director of the Wellcome Trust's Centre for Mitochondrial Research

The other reason Professor Turnbull has been in the news lately is because he has been awarded a knighthood 'for services to healthcare research and treatment, particularly mitochondrial disease' in the Queen's Birthday Honours. This much-deserved accolade recognises his four decades of work researching and treating patients with mitochondrial disease, and campaigning successfully alongside PET and others for a change in the law to permit the use of mitochondrial donation in treatment. PET congratulates him on his knighthood.

Finally, PET would like to pay tribute to the eminent scientist and Parliamentarian Lord John Walton, who also played a key role in changing the law to permit mitochondrial donation, and who died recently at the age of 93. You can read about Lord Walton's life and work on BioNews here, and you can subscribe to BioNews for free here to be kept up-to-date on all the latest news and views in genetics and fertility.

Lord John Walton

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