SIG Ethics & Law hosts ESHRE exchange symposium at ASRM

SIGEL at ASRM 2018

Published 11 October 2018

Treatment access, surrogacy, embryo research covered in recent meetings; sexuality, fertility preservation on future agendas

Past events
Access and diversity of medically assisted reproduction in Europe, Council of Europe

There is no common European legislation on medically assisted reproduction. Some patients are seeking cross-border reproductive care to access treatments and techniques prohibited in their home country. A two-day symposium ‘Access and diversity of medically assisted reproduction in Europe’ was organised by ESHRE and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, which discussed the ethical and regulatory issues raised by the varied legislation across Europe. Past Co-ordinator of SIG Ethics and Law, Guido Pennings, analysed motivations for oocyte donation, presenting data from a survey in several European countries.

Surrogacy: a gift with consequences
Our precongress course in Barcelona was co-organised with the SIGs Safety & Quality in ART and Global and Socio-cultural Aspects of Infertility and reached full capacity. Surrogacy is banned in several countries, and, where it is allowed, there are varied regulatory conditions for the surrogate (and her family), the intended parent(s) and the transfer of parentage. The process requires a high level of knowledge and expertise to look after all parties concerned and ensure the welfare of the future child. Commercialisation is also hotly debated both at national levels and at international "cross border" levels. At the end of the course we had a better understanding of the surrogacy process, both medically and from the surrogate and intended parents’ point of view. We discussed the basis of regulations in different countries, got an up-to-date knowledge of the psychological effects and the welfare of the child and last but not least were able to take part in debating the ethical aspects of surrogacy.

We have recently hosted the ESHRE exchange symposium at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the ASRM in Denver. Lucy Frith, Co-ordinator of the SIG chaired the meeting, which covered ‘The relevance of embryo research’. Heidi Mertes from the Bioethics Institute, Ghent University and Deputy of the SIG, and Gerald Schatten, Director of the Pittsburgh Development Center, were principal discussants in this highly debated and controversial area of medical research. You can see a preview of the session here with Professor Mertes, who discusses the ethical questions raised by embryo research and the differences in regulation between countries.

Events in 2019
Fertility care and sexuality – dilemmas and guidelines for daily practice,
12-13 April 2019, Berlin
Save the date, more information to follow.

Fertility preservation in children and adolescents, 9-10 May 2019, Edinburgh
The course will cover the gonadotoxic treatments of malignant and non-malignant diseases alongside the reproductive outcomes for cancer survivors and the fertility preservation options for girls and boys. There will be discussion on the ethical issues raised by fertility preservation, such as definitions of experimental treatment and informed consent.

Global access to assisted reproductive technologies: hurdles and opportunities, Precongress Course 4, Vienna
This course will consider access to ART and how cost and funding mechanisms influence practice and choice. It will put these issues in a wider global context and examine the regulatory, socio-cultural and ethical aspects of access to ART. The course will specifically consider the prevalence of infertility, the consequences of infertility in Africa, costing policies for ART, how reimbursement policies affect access to treatment, and the implications of cross-border infertility care. Finally, the course will address wider considerations related to the meaning of parenthood and why people chose to use ART.

The SIG is also planning more Campus courses and working on a precongress programme for 2020. If you have any ideas and topics you want us to address please get in touch.

Fani Bounartzi
Junior Deputy SIG Ethics & Law


Follow SIG Ethics and Law on Facebook and Twitter