29 Nov 2010 5:00pm - 6:30pm CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge




Evening Seminar

Professor Erica Haimes (Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Centre, Newcastle)

Zeynep Gürtin-Broadbent
(Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge)




This presentation will describe work in progress on our Medical Research Council-funded project. The focus of the project is a unique scheme run by the local fertility centre in which women undergoing IVF are allowed to volunteer to share their eggs in exchange for reduced IVF fees (hereafter referred to as ‘the Newcastle scheme’).


The project is taking place in a landscape shaped by policy, practice, and ethical, debates on: the moral status of the human embryo, particularly in relation to human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research; the scientific legitimacy of SCNT research; whether SCNT research challenges definitions of the human embryo; debates (particularly in the mass media) around therapeutic and reproductive cloning.  The Newcastle scheme has created additional questions for these debates, such as: does a reduction of IVF fees constitute an inducement to donate; does the reduction compromise the autonomy of the egg provider to give full and free consent; does the scheme lead to an exploitation of the poor and vulnerable; does egg sharing under such circumstances actually amount to egg selling?


So far the voices of the women involved as actual and potential egg providers for SCNT research under this particular scheme have not been heard. This study seeks to fill that gap and to show how the map of that landscape can shift once their views and experiences are taken into account.


Whilst the presentation will concentrate on describing progress on the project so far, I shall also draw out comparisons between this study and others (such as our previous Wellcome Trust-funded study on embryo donation for hESC research and also with the Cambridge-based research on egg sharing for treatment) to advance understandings both of the concept of ‘donation’ and of the practice of egg provision, within the wider context of the provision of reproductive tissue for science and for treatment.






Professor Erica Haimes was the Founding Executive Director of the PEALS (Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences) Research Centre (1998-2008) where she is now Professorial Fellow; she is also Professor of Sociology in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University. Her research interests include: interdisciplinary research on social, ethical and legal aspects of the life sciences; reproductive and genetic technologies; the socio-ethical aspects of the provision of human tissue for research, and the relationship between states, families and medicine with a focus on assisted conception. She runs the PARTS (Provision and Acquisition of Reproductive Tissue for Science) International Research Network.


Zeynep Gürtin-Broadbent is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge and Convener of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum. Her research interests concern the social, psychological and ethical issues surrounding the use of assisted reproductive technologies. Zeynep examined the cultural constructions of IVF in Turkey for her PhD, analyzing current regulation, commercial structures and media discourses, alongside an exploration of patients’ attitudes and experiences. Her current research project, in collaboration with Prof Susan Golombok (Centre for Family Research, Cambridge) and Dr Kamal Ahuja (London Women’s Clinic) investigates British women’s experiences of egg-sharing for reproduction.

Open to all.  No registration required.

Part of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum seminar series.
For more information about CIRF, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page. 

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