Page URL: https://www.progress.org.uk/

This week at the Progress Educational Trust (21 September 2020)


Sarah Norcross (Director of Progress Educational Trust) and Erika Tranfield (Director of Pride Angel) speak to Emma Barnett about the recent event 'Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation' (the item begins at the 0:52:10 mark) The Progress Educational Trust (PET) has been featured on the Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live, discussing the recent PET event 'Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation'.

Emma Barnett interviewed PET Director Sarah Norcross (who chaired the 'Known Unknowns' event) and Erika Tranfield (Director of Pride Angel, who spoke at the event).

You can listen to the item on the BBC website here (the item begins at the 0:52:10 mark). A film of the event will be made available soon via the charity's flagship publication BioNews (subscribe for free here to be kept updated).


Professor Adèle Marston, Joanne Leitch, Laura Riley and Kate Brian, speakers at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Donate, Destroy or Delay? When IVF Embryos Are No Longer Needed for Treatment', being held online on Tuesday 29 September 2020 PET also has packed programme of free-to-attend public events coming up, beginning next week. All of these events will be held online, and will be chaired by Sarah Norcross.

The first event - 'Donate, Destroy or Delay? When IVF Embryos Are No Longer Needed for Treatment' - is taking place from 5pm-6.30pm (BST) on Tuesday 29 September 2020.

This event will explore what happens to unused embryos following the completion of fertility treatment.

All are welcome. To attend/participate via the web, please register here now.

The event is produced in partnership with the Scottish Government. Confirmed speakers include Joanne Leitch, Kate Brian, Professor Adèle Marston and Laura Riley.

Find out more about the speakers here, and if tweeting about this event please use the hashtag #EmbryoChoice


Professor Richard Anderson, Professor Evelyn Telfer, Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva, Dr Sarah Stock, Professor Glenn Cohen and Dr Anna Smajdor, speakers at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public events 'Age-Old Question: Exploring Fertility and Ageing' and 'How Old Is Too Old to Be a Parent?' After that, there will be two events discussing fertility and assisted conception in relation to age, both produced in partnership with the Scottish Government.

'Age-Old Question: Exploring Fertility and Ageing' is taking place from 6.30pm-8pm (BST) on Wednesday 14 October 2020.

All are welcome. To attend/participate via the web, please register here now.

Confirmed speakers include Professor Evelyn Telfer and Professor Richard Anderson. Find out more about the speakers here.

'How Old Is Too Old to Be a Parent?', taking place from 6.30pm-8pm (BST) on Wednesday 21 October 2020.

All are welcome. To attend/participate via the web, please register here now.

Confirmed speakers include Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva, Dr Sarah Stock, Professor Glenn Cohen and Dr Anna Smajdor. Find out more about the speakers here.

If tweeting about either of the events above, please use the hashtag #FertilityAge


Dr Zeynep Gurtin, Carmel Dennehy, Professor Jacky Boivin and Seetal Savla, speakers at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Lessons from Lockdown: How to Improve Support for Fertility Patients', being held online on Thursday 5 November 2020Finally, 'Lessons from Lockdown: How to Improve Support for Fertility Patients' is taking place from 5pm-6.30pm (GMT) on Thursday 5 November 2020.

This event will explore how best to support patients, in light of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and the related disruption of fertility treatment.

All are welcome. Find out more about the themes of the event here, and to attend/participate via the web, please register here now.

The event is produced in partnership with University College London's EGA Institute for Women's Health, with sponsorship from CooperSurgical. Confirmed speakers include Dr Zeynep Gurtin, Professor Jacky Boivin, Seetal Savla and Carmel Dennehy.

Find out more about the speakers here, and if tweeting about this event please use the hashtag #IVFlockdown


As well as planning the events discussed above, PET has also been in the news lately, discussing a new report on genome editing published jointly by the UK's Royal Society and the USA's National Academies.

Although PET has been involved in the discussions and conferences that have fed into this report over the past year, the charity has some criticisms of the final version.

'Heritable Human Genome Editing', a report published jointly by the UK's Royal Society and the USA's National Academies of Medicine and Sciences Sarah Norcross has been quoted discussing the report by:

Sarah says: 'The circumstances in which the world's first genome-edited babies were born in 2018 were lamentable, both scientifically and ethically, and lessons needed to be learned. Unfortunately, this report goes too far in the other direction. The criteria the report sets out, for the first acceptable clinical use of germline genome editing in humans, are far too narrow.

'Furthermore, the report strays beyond its scientific remit. Much of the report - including a third of its recommendations - concerns governance, which is the focus of a separate genome editing project by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO is still deliberating on the governance of genome editing, and should not feel constrained by this report's governance recommendations if it sees fit to deviate from them.'

Despite these criticisms of the report, PET still believes that caution and rigour are essential to any current and future uses of genome editing. This is why, in New Scientist magazine's latest interview with a controversial Russian scientist who intends to use germline genome editing to avoid hereditary deafness in children, Sarah is quoted saying: 'I would not be supportive of it being used first for deafness.'