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The Progress Educational Trust (PET), informing debate on assisted conception and genetics

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Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception MSc

EVENTS

Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?

Progress Educational Trust
Great Hall, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
15 June 2016 5.45pm (refreshments), 6.30pm-8.30pm (discussion)
Professor Jane Norman, Director of Tommy's Maternal and Fetal Research Centre at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and chair of the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016 David Baird, Emeritus Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Edinburgh and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016 Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva, Consultant Gynaecologist at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016 Dr Ainsley Newson, Associate Professor of Bioethics at the University of Sydney and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016 Dr Angel Petropanagos, Research Associate in the Impact Ethics team at Dalhousie University and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016
A free-to-attend evening event in Edinburgh about egg freezing, delaying motherhood and whether women can beat the biological clock, organised by the Progress Educational Trust (PET). The event will begin with refreshments at 5.45pm, followed by a panel discussion at 6.30pm.
Attendance is free. Please email Sandy Starr at to book places.
This event is supported by the Scottish Government, and is a satellite event of the World Congress of the International Association of Bioethics.
The panel discussion will be chaired by Professor Jane Norman, with panel speakers Professor David Baird, Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva, Dr Ainsley Newson and Dr Angel Petropanagos. Full details of the speakers and chair can be found below.
If tweeting about this event, please use the hashtag #PETegg. If you use Facebook, you can join the Facebook page for the event here.
The event is taking place at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. A map showing how to get to the venue can be found here. The red balloon on the map marks the venue, and the purple line shows how to walk to the venue from Edinburgh Waverley railway station.
If you are travelling to the event from the International Association of Bioethics Congress or the Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Congress, use this map instead. The red line on this map shows how to get from the Congress to the event.

The cryopreservation (freezing or vitrification) of eggs offers great hope of being able to delay motherhood and beat the biological clock. Although women's fertility declines with age, more and more women are putting off having children. Can egg freezing deliver on its promise?
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's latest report on fertility trends and figures includes, for the first time, a section on egg freezing. It shows that the number of women freezing their eggs has increased substantially in the UK - especially since vitrification, which is thought to be more effective than slower freezing techniques, has become widely available - and that this figure continues to increase year on year. However, the proportion of frozen eggs that are being thawed and used in treatment remains low. In the past 15 years, fewer than 60 babies have been born to patients freezing and thawing their own eggs, whether for medical or non-medical reasons.
These figures may be modest but the debate has become big, especially when it comes to cryopreservation for non-medical reasons - so-called 'social egg freezing'. Current UK law states that eggs can be stored when there is no medical need to do so, but only for a maximum of 10 years. The storage period can only be extended beyond this if a medical practitioner provides a written opinion that the patient is prematurely infertile, or likely to become so.
Some argue that the possibility of delaying motherhood means winning the battle for gender equality, while others argue the opposite. When Apple and Facebook began offering egg freezing as a perk to their US employees, this was portrayed positively as supporting women to plan the lives they want, but was also portrayed negatively as women being told that they cannot have children and a career at the same time. Meanwhile, even the US military is now offering to pay for egg freezing for its troops.
The likelihood of being able to conceive with thawed eggs is fiercely debated, in light of the data that has emerged to date. Fertility figurehead Professor Lord Robert Winston has told The Times that clinics which charge handsomely for cryopreservation are being 'highly exploitative', and has told Woman's Hour that 'the idea that you can store eggs by freezing I think is a scam'. By contrast, some clinicians are so confident of the reliability of egg freezing that they have published papers arguing that 'all women should freeze their eggs'.
This event will tackle questions that were raised at PET's standing-room-only 2015 debate on egg freezing, and in the front-page national news coverage that accompanied that event. These questions include:
How many eggs would a woman need to freeze, to have a reasonable chance of pregnancy?
What are the risks of egg freezing?
Does egg freezing give women more control and greater reproductive autonomy?
How are egg freezing services being marketed?
Is it misleading to promote egg freezing as an insurance policy?
Should employers be encouraging women to delay motherhood?
Where can women get trustworthy information about egg freezing?
A panel of experts with different perspectives will debate these questions. 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

David Baird David Baird, Emeritus Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Edinburgh and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016
Emeritus Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Reproductive Health
Honorary Consultant Gynaecologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva, Consultant Gynaecologist at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016
Consultant Gynaecologist at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School's Assisted Conception Unit
Clinical Lecturer In Reproductive Medicine at the University of Dundee's School of Medicine

Dr Ainsley Newson Dr Ainsley Newson, Associate Professor of Bioethics at the University of Sydney and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016
Associate Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Bioethics Programme at the University of Sydney's Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine
Leader of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law's Clinical Ethics Stream

Dr Angel Petropanagos Dr Angel Petropanagos, Research Associate in the Impact Ethics team at Dalhousie University and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016
Research Associate in the Impact Ethics team at Dalhousie University's Faculty of Medicine
Visiting Researcher at the University of Toronto's Joint Centre for Bioethics

CHAIR

Jane Norman Professor Jane Norman, Director of Tommy's Maternal and Fetal Research Centre at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and chair of the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016
Professor of Maternal and Fetal Health at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Reproductive Health
Director of Tommy's Maternal and Fetal Research Centre at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS

The Scottish Government, supporter of the Progress Educational Trust's FREE evening event 'Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?', taking place in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 15 June 2016
World Congress of the International Association of Bioethics

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