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CAMBRIDGE AT THE FOREFRONT OF HUMAN EMBRYO RESEARCH

7:30pm-9:00pm on Friday 8 April

Times shown are in GMT (UTC +0) up to the 26th March. For events on or after 27th March times are in BST (UTC +1).

Babbage Lecture Theatre, (Through the Pembroke Archway), New Museums SiteDowning Street, CB2 3RS

Embryo research in the UK is governed by principles that are over 40 years old. New developments led by Cambridge researchers mean that we are now pushing the limits of what is technically and legally possible in embryo research. Join our panel of scientific, legal, sociological and historical experts as they debate whether it is time to revisit the rules governing fertility and embryo research. Our panel, chaired by Professor Nick Hopwood (History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge) is Professor Kathy Niakan (PDN, Cambridge) Professor Sarah Franklin (Sociology, Cambridge) Professor Robin Lovell-Badge (Francis Crick Institute, London) & Sarah Norcross ( Progress Educational Trust).

When Louise Brown, the first “IVF baby”, was born in 1978, the Cambridge-based research that led to this technique was considered by many to be scientific meddling of the most unnatural sort. Since then, reproductive research and technologies have advanced at an ever-increasing pace, and much of the work has been led by Cambridge researchers. Scientists are successfully growing human embryos in the lab for longer than ever before in order to gain valuable insights into the earliest processes of human development and to better understand why some pregnancies fail or result in congenital abnormalities.

How long should we be allowed to keep these embryos alive in a dish – and for what purpose? Sophisticated three-dimensional models of embryos and organs, allow us to model processes of human development and may eventually enable us to devise new and better treatments for infertility. In the UK, this research is regulated in the UK by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990, amended 2008), which imposes a limit of 14 days for culturing human embryos for research purposes. When this ’14-day rule’ was first proposed, in 1983, it offered a compromise: it allowed some research into early embryo development, but enabled a firm line to be drawn past which no research could continue. The 14 day rule has since become the de facto global standard for this area of research. This event has been organised jointly by Cambridge Reproduction (www.repro.cam.ac.uk), the Human Developmental Biology Initiative, the Reproductive Sociology Research Group, the IVF Histories and Cultures Project.

This event will be in- person and also live-streamed on our festival YouTube channel.

You can pre-register for the online stream to receive a reminder- or view on the day via the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/c/CambridgeFestival/

Booking/Registration is: REQUIRED

Additional Information

Age: Adults, Young Adults 12 – 18
Format: Talk
Timing: Available on Demand, Live Stream
Cost: Free
Event Capacity: 400
Theme: Health, Society
Accessibility: Partial access - please contact us for details
Image copyright: Norah Fogarty and Kathy Niakan

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