Do Genes Matter? Families and Donor Conception

Progress Educational Trust
Darwin Lecture Theatre, Darwin Building, University College London, Malet Place, London WC1E 6BT
22nd May 2014 6.30pm-8.30pm
This public event was organised by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) in partnership with the University of Manchester's Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, and was held at University College London.
A podcast produced by James Brooks, in which he interviews members of the speaker panel, can be listened to using the player below or alternatively can be downloaded by clicking here (.mp3 15.5MB).
Cait McDonagh has written a summary of this event for PET's flagship publication BioNews. The event is also discussed by Dr Petra Nordqvist in her BioNews article 'Do genes matter? Families under the microscope', while author and journalist Kate Brian discusses the event on the Fertility Matters website here.
More than 35,000 children have been born in the UK as a result of donor conception since 1991. Since then, our knowledge of genetics has increased substantially, with the advent of whole genome sequencing and a better grasp of the genetic factors that can predispose people to certain medical conditions. But beyond our physical health, what does our improved understanding of genetics mean for our understanding of family?
What does it mean to have a child through donor conception?
What is donor conception like for the 'non-genetic' parent(s)?
How do grandparents feel about having a grandchild who is conceived with the help of an egg, sperm or embryo donor?
What is the role of the internet in finding donors or connecting with half-siblings?
How many parents can a child have?
This event saw family, kinship, gender, sexuality, assisted conception and genetics discussed, from contrasting perspectives, by a panel of experts.

  Speakers:
Natalie Gamble
Solicitor and Founder of Natalie Gamble Associates and Brilliant Beginnings
Anneke Lucassen
Professor of Clinical Genetics and Coordinator of Clinical Ethics and Law teaching at the University of Southampton, and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Wessex Clinical Genetics Service
Carol Smart
Professor of Sociology and Codirector of the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives at the University of Manchester, and coauthor of Relative Strangers
Erika Tranfield
Director and Cofounder of Pride Angel

  Chair:
Walter Merricks
Chair of Trustees at the Donor Conception Network, and former Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

  Partners and supporters:
  The University of Manchester's Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives