This week at the Progress Educational Trust (7 October 2015)
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) is pleased to announce that its next free public event will be '10 Years Since the End of Donor Anonymity: Have We Got It Right?', taking place at University College London's Institute of Child Health on the evening of Tuesday 3 November. The event will begin with a wine reception at 6pm, and the discussion proper will begin at 6.30pm.
The event is being organised jointly by PET and the National Gamete Donation Trust. It will see sperm and egg donation discussed by speakers including Jo Rose (who is donor-conceived and who brought a high-profile court case that contributed to UK's decision to end donor anonymity), Jo Adams (Manager of Manchester Donors), and Professors Susan Golombok and Eric Blyth (experts in family/donor conception issues at the universities of Cambridge and Huddersfield respectively).
You can find out more about the event here, and you can book your free place by emailing
PET is also busy organising its public conference 'From Three-Person IVF to Genome Editing: The Science and Ethics of Engineering the Embryo', which will take place at the same venue all day on Wednesday 9 December. The conference will focus on mitochondrial donation and genome editing, two areas that were discussed by PET Director Sarah Norcross this week on the BBC1 programme Sunday Morning Live.
You can watch the programme here - the relevant item begins at the 22:50 mark, with Sharon Bernardi explaining how she lost all seven of her children to debilitating and fatal mitochondrial disease, and how mitochondrial donation offers a potential way to avert such tragedy. A panel discussion featuring Sarah then follows.
Sarah will be giving the Welcome Address at PET's 9 December conference. The conference will also feature a Keynote Address by Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government.
Professor Walport recently featured in the 'Thinkers' section of the Evening Standard 'Progress 1,000' list of London's most influential people. He has also been busy in Parliament lately, giving evidence to an inquiry into the UK's Science Budget. He began his contribution to this inquiry by explaining that 'my job, broadly, is to advise the Government on all aspects of science, engineering, technology and social science for all Government policy' - a remit that includes the policy implications of mitochondrial donation and genome editing. You can watch Professor Walport give evidence here, beginning at the 15:12:00 mark.
As well discussing the themes of PET's conference on BBC1, Sarah has also had a busy week in the media commenting on North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group's controversial decision to cut all of its NHS-funded fertility treatment. In her capacity as Co-Chair of the campaigning organisation Fertility Fairness, Sarah has been discussing this development on TV (on BBC1's London News and Look East programmes), on radio (on Dave Monk's BBC Essex programme -you can listen to the item here, beginning at the 2:08:10 mark - and on Radio Essex), and in print (Sarah is quoted by the Guardian, and quoted by local newspapers including the Brentwood Gazette and Colchester's Daily Gazette).
Meanwhile, PET Communications Officer Sandy Starr has been to Olympia London for a fascinating event entitled 'Ownership and Access to Personal (Genetic) Information in Future Healthcare', organised by the European, Middle Eastern and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking. Topics discussed included direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and the use of Big Data in genomics projects in both the public and private sectors. PET will be returning to Olympia next month for the annual Fertility Show, where the charity will have an exhibition stand, and where Sarah will be chairing a discussion entitled 'New Technologies in IVF'.