SciFest 2013 – Professor Alison Murdoch “Ethical challenges in assisted reproduction”

Wednesday 27 March 2013, 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


babyharry“Ethical challenges in assisted reproduction”.

Professor Murdoch will pose some difficult questions, leading to a lively discussion.

  • What can we do to help couples who are having difficulty in conceiving?
  • What is the current research on the first few days of life, before the bundle of cells has implanted into the womb?
  • What ethical challenges do these treatments raise?
  • What laws and regulations are in place as a result?

Alison Murdoch MD FRCOG is a Professor of Reproductive Medicine and a Gynaecologist, and Head of Newcastle Fertility Centre at Newcastle University.

She established The Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, one of the leading NHS fertility centres in the UK, providing a full range of treatments for sub-fertility including IVF, sperm and egg donation.

Research in her department includes work on stem cells and on therapeutic cloning. They have developed a method o reduce the risk of transmission of mitochondrial disease to the baby, which has led to the need for new UK legislation before it could be used.

Professor Murdoch’s role within the team is principal role in the team is the ethical and regulatory issues related to embryo research and to the donation of embryos and eggs for research. Recently they have developed a technique to help prevent the transmission of mitochondrial genetic disorders from mother to child. These techniques involve taking some genetic material from a donor, and have needed new regulations before many women could be helped.

She is also a past Chair of the British Fertility Society, the national society which represents all those involved in the provision of care for the infertile patient and has been closely involved with the Department of Health and the regulators in the setting of clinical and laboratory standards. She is a member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs.


Humanist Society ScotlandProfessor Murdoch’s talk to us is sponsored by the Humanist Society Scotland. HSS aims to promote a secular Scotland through work in policy, in education and their range of ceremonies.

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