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This week at the Progress Educational Trust (30 November 2020)


The Progress Educational Trust (PET)'s 2020 Annual Conference - which is entitled 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19' - is now only one week away. Unlike previous PET conferences, this year's conference will be held entirely online, so that you can join us and the speakers remotely.

The conference is taking place from 9.15am-5.30pm (GMT) on Wednesday 9 December 2020. It will explore what we know about, and how we might deal with, coronavirus/COVID-19 in relation to fertility and genomics.

The conference details have now been finalised. See the full agenda and timetable here, see the full list of conference speakers here, and register to attend here.

The Institute of Medical Ethics has provided funding for 20 medical students to attend the conference free of charge. Medical students wishing to apply for one of these places should email sstarr@progress.org.uk

Session chairs at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020 Conference sessions include:

  1. The Impact of COVID-19 on the Fertility Sector
    Chaired by Sarah Norcross (Director of PET)

  2. Examining the Evidence: Can COVID-19 Affect Fertility? Can It Affect the Fetus?
    Chaired by Fiona Fox (Chief Executive of the Science Media Centre)

  3. Correlation and Causation: What Can Genetics and Genomics Tell Us about COVID-19?
    Chaired by Dr Roger Highfield (Science Director at the Science Museum Group)

  4. Resuming Treatment: What Can European Countries Learn from One Another?
    Chaired by Dr Anna Veiga (Coordinator of ESHRE's COVID-19 Working Group)

Conference presentations will include the following.


Towards an Understanding of an Epidemic Dr Kári Stefánsson, Chief Executive of the biopharmaceutical company deCODE Genetics and speaker at 'Correlation and Causation: What Can Genetics and Genomics Tell Us about COVID-19?', Session 3 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Kári Stefánsson
Chief Executive of the biopharmaceutical company deCODE Genetics, and leader of recent research into COVID-19 spread and immune response

The HFEA at 30: Regulating During COVID-19 and Beyond Sally Cheshire, Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and speaker at 'The Impact of COVID-19 on the Fertility Sector', Session 1 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Sally Cheshire
Chair of the HFEA

Law of Homogameity: Does COVID-19 Illustrate the Genetic Resilience of Women? Dr Sharon Moalem, author of bestselling books including 'Inheritance' and 'The Better Half' and speaker at 'Correlation and Causation: What Can Genetics and Genomics Tell Us about COVID-19?', Session 3 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Sharon Moalem
Geneticist, and author of bestselling books including Inheritance and The Better Half: On the Genetic Superiority of Women

Defective Type I IFN Immunity in Patients with Life-Threatening COVID-19 Dr Qian Zhang, Research Associate at Rockefeller University and speaker at 'Correlation and Causation: What Can Genetics and Genomics Tell Us about COVID-19?', Session 3 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Qian Zhang
Research Associate at Rockefeller University, and leader of recent research into immunity/immunodeficiency in patients with life-threatening COVID-19

The Value of Liberty and Reproduction in the Pandemic Professor Julian Savulescu, Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and speaker at 'The Impact of COVID-19 on the Fertility Sector', Session 1 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Professor Julian Savulescu
Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

Riding the Wave: A Fertility Clinician's Perspective on Living with COVID-19 Dr Jane Stewart, Chair of the British Fertility Society and speaker at 'The Impact of COVID-19 on the Fertility Sector', Session 1 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Jane Stewart
Chair of the British Fertility Society

ACE, Testosterone and COVID-19 Allan Pacey, Head of Oncology and Metabolism at the University of Sheffield and speaker at 'Examining the Evidence: Can COVID-19 Affect Fertility? Can It Affect the Fetus?', Session 2 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Professor Allan Pacey
Trustee at PET, and Head of Oncology and Metabolism at the University of Sheffield

Is the Placenta a Barrier to COVID-19 Crossing to the Fetus? Ashley Moffett, Professor of Reproductive Immunology at the University of Cambridge and speaker at 'Examining the Evidence: Can COVID-19 Affect Fertility? Can It Affect the Fetus?', Session 2 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Professor Ashley Moffett
Professor of Reproductive Immunology at the University of Cambridge

A COVID-Free Fertility Clinic: Triage, Testing and Decisionmaking Dr Luca Gianaroli, Scientific Director of the Italian Society for the Study of Reproductive Medicine and speaker at 'Resuming Treatment: What Can European Countries Learn from One Another?', Session 4 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Luca Gianaroli
Scientific Director of the Italian Society for the Study of Reproductive Medicine

Virus-Free Oocytes: What Does This Mean? Why Should We Care? Dr Rita Vassena, Scientific Director of Eugin and speaker at 'Examining the Evidence: Can COVID-19 Affect Fertility? Can It Affect the Fetus?', Session 2 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Rita Vassena
Scientific Director of Eugin

ESHRE Guidance: The Adaptation of Fertility Clinics Dr Edgar Mocanu, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Rotunda Hospital Dublin and speaker at 'Resuming Treatment: What Can European Countries Learn from One Another?', Session 4 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Edgar Mocanu
Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Rotunda Hospital Dublin

Assisted Conception in the European Union During the COVID-19 Pandemic Dr Nathalie Vermeulen, Senior Research Specialist at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and speaker at 'Resuming Treatment: What Can European Countries Learn from One Another?', Session 4 at the Progress Educational Trust conference 'Fertility, Genomics and COVID-19', taking place online on Wednesday 9 December 2020
Dr Nathalie Vermeulen
Senior Research Specialist at ESHRE

The conference is supported by the Anne McLaren Memorial Trust Fund, the Edwards and Steptoe Research Trust Fund, ESHRE, Wellcome, the European Sperm Bank, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, the London Women's Clinic, Merck, Theramex, Vitrolife and the Institute of Medical Ethics.

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

In addition to the conference on 9 December, PET is also producing the following two free-to-attend online events, the first of which is taking place this coming Thursday.


The first event is 'Fertility Facts: What Do Young People Need to Know and When?', taking place from 5.30pm-7pm (GMT) on Thursday 3 December 2020. This event is produced in partnership with the Scottish Government.

Professor Adam Balen, Anna Shams Ili and Sharon Martin, speakers at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Fertility Facts: What Do Young People Need to Know and When?', being held online on Thursday 3 December 2020The event will discuss whether and how (in)fertility should be addressed in sex and relationships education. Confirmed speakers include:

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


Then in the New Year, 'An All-Consuming Problem? How to Protect Patients in the Fertility Market' is taking place from 5.30pm-7pm (GMT) on Thursday 14 January 2021. This event is sponsored by the British Fertility Society and Merck.

Dr Louise Strong, Dr Raj Mathur, Mark Wilcox and Katy Lindemann, speakers at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'An All-Consuming Problem? How to Protect Patients in the Fertility Market', being held online on Thursday 14 January 2021 The event will discuss new guidance for the fertility sector drafted by the UK Government's Competition and Markets Authority. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Louise Strong (Director of Consumer Protection at the Competition and Markets Authority)

  • Dr Raj Mathur (incoming Chair of the British Fertility Society)

  • Mark Wilcox (Group Medical Director at CARE Fertility)

  • Katy Lindemann (advocate and commentator on infertility, pregnancy loss and childlessness)

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