This week at the Progress Educational Trust (16 April 2021)
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) has been busy in recent weeks, running a packed programme of public events and making appearances in the media.
This week has seen PET Director Sarah Norcross comment on research that involves the creation of chimeric embryos, containing material from both monkeys and humans.
'Substantial advances are being made in embryo and stem cell research, and these could bring equally substantial benefits. However, there is a clear need for public discussion and debate about the ethical and regulatory challenges raised.
'Issues raised by this particular research concern the combination of human and nonhuman material (although the embryos in this case were predominantly nonhuman) and how long embryos may be cultured for in the laboratory.
'A related area that deserves further discussion is the creation of synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (SHEEFs) – structures that resemble human embryos, but do not originate from ordinary fertilisation.'
Sarah's comments have been quoted in articles including:
Sarah has also been quoted in two recent Daily Mail articles on the subject of egg freezing.
Sarah said: 'For some women, egg-freezing will be a positive reproductive choice giving them a feeling of control at a time of great uncertainty, but it must be made clear by the clinic that egg-freezing is not a guarantee of a baby, and women should go armed with questions about the success rates and the overall cost.'
Sarah said: 'For some women who didn't want to try to be mothers on their own, and haven't met anyone, it can be a very sad decision to have to make. For others, it can be a really positive choice if, for example, they don't need their eggs as they've subsequently met someone and had children naturally.'
In related news, PET continues to campaign for an extension to the outdated and unscientific 10-year legal limit on the length of time for which women's eggs can be stored in the UK (if these eggs are frozen for non-medical or 'social' reasons).
If you have not yet done so, please spare a few moments to sign and share PET's #ExtendTheLimit petition at www.change.org/extendthelimit
Egg freezing was also the focus of PET's recent event'The Business of Egg Freezing: From Bluster to Best Practice', a film of which can be watched below.
PET will be announcing more public events in the near future. To be kept updated, subscribe for free to PET's flagship publication BioNews.