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Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception MSc

Antony Blackburn-Starza
Legal Editor

Antony Blackburn-Starza is Legal Editor at BioNews and at the charity that publishes it, the Progress Educational Trust (PET). Together with his fellow BioNews editors James Brooks and Ayala Ochert, he runs the BioNews writing scheme, which provides practical science writing training and experience for PhD students. He is currently studying for a PhD at at the University of Kent's Law School, where his research focuses on new forms of actionable harm arising from mishaps in assisted conception, and where he teaches Obligations. He is also a Member of Lincoln's Inn.

Antony originally studied Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, went on to obtain an MA in Medical Law and Ethics at Queen Mary University of London, and completed the the Bar Professional Training Course at City University London's Law School. His BioNews article 'UK lags behind the rest of Europe in IVF' is reproduced in Reproductive Ethics (buy this book from Amazon UK). He has a particular interest in medical ethics, patents and socio-legal approaches to new medical technologies.


BioNews Comment articles written by Antony Blackburn-Starza:


Germline in the sand: The ethics and law of engineering the embryo

25 January 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

We report from the fourth session of annual conference of the Progress Educational Trust, titled 'Germline in the Sand: The Ethics and Law of Engineering the Embryo', which discussed the ethics of human embryo genome editing... [Read More]

The Ohio sperm mix-up: What's the harm in giving birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl?

08 December 2014 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

A claim filed against an Ohio sperm bank for using the wrong sperm donor leading to a woman giving birth to 'a beautiful, obviously mixed race, baby girl' ignited a furore because of race... [Read More]

Putting a 'kilt on Yearworth': Holdich v Lothian Health Board [2013]

27 January 2014 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

The Outer House of the Court of Session in Scotland has allowed a claim for compensation brought by a man whose sperm may have been damaged by a failure of a storage vessel to proceed to a full trial.... [Read More]

The state provision of fertility treatment: 'NICE' idea

22 April 2013 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

The Progress Educational Trust's debate, 'NICE Try… But is anyone listening?', considered the impact of the radical structural changes to the NHS on the state provision of IVF. At least two central critical themes emerged from the debate: a critique of method and a critique of measure... [Read More]

'Just' giving: PET's evening debate on gamete donation from the donor perspective

14 January 2013 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

The image of the sperm donor nipping off between lectures to casually donate for a few quid of beer money was neatly set aside by this thought-provoking debate. In his place, in strode the complex male – knowledgeable, thoughtful, sensitive… and probably over 25... [Read More]

What's Your Poison? The Impact of Alcohol and Smoking

17 December 2012 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

The fourth session the Progress Educational Trust's annual conference 2012 'Fertility Treatment: A Life-Changing Event?' continued the day's critical perspective looking at the evidential basis for the impact of lifestyle factors on the outcome of fertility treatment and resulting children. This time it was the impact of alcohol and smoking that came under scrutiny... [Read More]

Genetic medalling

13 June 2011 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Are athletes born or built? Basketball star Michael Jordan's son plays college-level basketball and Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila was named Super MiddleWeight women's boxing champion in 2002. Famous footballer Zinedine Zidane's son Enzo, joined by his siblings Luca and Theo, are all promising young footballers among the Real Madrid cadets... [Read More]

Genetic susceptibility to common complex disorders

07 December 2009 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

As our understanding of genetics and associated disorders has developed, many genetic tests performing functions - from predicting certain genetic predispositions and identifying rare monogenetic disorders, to ancestry and other 'novelty' tests - have been introduced to the healthcare market. Many geneticists are concerned about the regulation of these tests, which are performed by the NHS, the private sector, or distributed directly to consumers. Experts are calling for more transparent eval... [Read More]

'Older Mothers': a report on the '21st century motherhood’ conference held at UCL, 18 September 2009

19 October 2009 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Maria Bousada, 69, once the world's oldest mother, died in July this year leaving behind two young children born following IVF only two years earlier. Her death reignited the debate surrounding 'older mothers' - or more specifically, post-menopausal women who require fertility treatment to conceive. In response to media attention surrounding Ms Bousada's death, Professor Sammy Lee, an expert in medical ethics, embryology and biomedical sciences based at University College London... [Read More]

Banking crisis - what should be done about the sperm donor shortage?

06 July 2009 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

An acute shortage of donor sperm is diminishing the capacity of the UK's public and private health sectors to treat infertility, resulting in growing concern and lengthening waiting lists at clinics. The shortage is widely attributed to the removal, in 2005, of entitlement to donor anonymity. The Progress Educational Trust, with support from the Royal Society of Medicine and the British Fertility Society (BFS) staged a panel discussion on Thursday 25 June 2009 entitled 'Banking Crisis - what ... [Read More]


BioNews Review articles written by Antony Blackburn-Starza:

Book Review: Modern Families - Parents and Children in New Family Forms

26 May 2015 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Susan Golombok's 'Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms' challenges the assumption that the traditional nuclear family is the best environment in which to raise children... [Read More]

Book Review: Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction - Families, Origins and Identities

09 February 2015 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

This collection of interdisciplinary perspectives and empirical observations on the meanings that are attached to a concept of 'relatedness' in fertility treatment is an important read for anyone involved in assisted conception... [Read More]

Book Review: Law, Policy and Reproductive Autonomy

26 August 2014 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

The legal framework for the regulation and provision of assisted reproductive technologies is situated within enormous social change, not least in the construction of the family, personal health management and expectations around access to emerging medical technologies.... [Read More]

Event Review: New Families and Genetic Identities - Developments in Law, Policy and Research

08 July 2013 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Families are complicated and no two are the same. It is often said that assisted reproductive technologies (ART) challenge traditional family models. But what has received less attention to date is how these 'new families' navigate a complex thicket of social, legal and policy norms... [Read More]

Report Review: Donor information sharing - Preservation of personal liberty or the indirect control over people's private lives?

29 April 2013 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

In its latest contribution to practical bioethics and policymaking, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in its report on information sharing in donor conception recommends, among other things, that parents of donor-conceived children should not be mandated to inform them about their origins.... [Read More]

Report Review: Human Bodies - Donation for Medicine and Research

24 October 2011 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

It was the recommendations to pay for the funeral expenses of organ donors and to remove the cap on compensation for gamete donors that made the headlines. But it is not the specific recommendations of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' report 'Human bodies: donation for medicine and research' that it will be remembered for... [Read More]

Book Review: Bioequity

19 August 2010 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

In 2008 Exeter County Court put an end to claims brought by six men who on being diagnosed with cancer decided to store their sperm for potential future insemination before undergoing chemotherapy treatment should the effects of the treatment permanently impair their fertility... [Read More]

Book Review: Choosing Life, Choosing Death - The Tyranny of Autonomy in Medical Ethics and Law

05 January 2010 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Autonomy is commonly thought of as a guiding ethical principle which promotes the ability of an individual to determine their own 'life path'. It is commonly translated in the legal area in positive terms of self-determinism and negative constraints of non-interference. But the term holds a special meaning in the ethics/rights discourse as an inalienable virtuous human quality which generates rights and warrants respect... [Read More]

BioNews News articles written by Antony Blackburn-Starza:


Myriad: Patients seek right to access personal genetic information

23 May 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Myriad Genetics has been hit by a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of four patients who are seeking a right of access to all their genetic information held by the company... [Read More]

Single father wins surrogacy human rights ruling

23 May 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

A senior High Court judge has ruled that UK law discriminates against single parents with children born through surrogacy who are seeking parental orders, and that current UK law in this area runs against their human rights... [Read More]

Australian parliamentary committee calls for national surrogacy regulation

09 May 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

A federal parliamentary committee in Australia has recommended that commercial surrogacy should remain illegal in the country, but that altruistic surrogacy should be regulated at a national level... [Read More]

Woman sues US sperm bank again for sperm mix-up

03 May 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

A woman is suing a sperm bank in the USA for the second time, alleging that it provided sperm from the wrong donor... [Read More]

No duty to inform non-patients of genetic test results

25 April 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

A UK court has struck out a claim brought against a hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder when testing the claimants' second cousin three years previously... [Read More]

UK court allows post-mortem DNA testing to establish paternity

25 April 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

A UK court has allowed the DNA of a deceased man to be tested for the purposes of establishing paternity and to also confirm family medical history... [Read More]

Donor lied about mental illness and criminal history, say US sperm bank clients

18 April 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Three families are suing a US sperm bank and its Canadian distributor for allegedly misleading them about the health and criminal history of their sperm donor... [Read More]

President of the Family Division criticises IVF clinic and lawyers

11 April 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has criticised as 'insensitive' the handling of a claim brought by the biological mother of twins who was the victim of an administrative error at a fertility clinic... [Read More]

Birth rate up, multiple-birth rate down – egg freezing more common, says HFEA

04 April 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

Pregnancy and live birth rates following IVF have continued to increase as the multiple-birth rate declines, according to the latest figures released by the HFEA... [Read More]

Women receives transplanted ovary frozen aged eight

21 March 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza

A 23-year-old woman may soon become become pregnant after receiving an implant of an ovary that had been frozen since she was eight years old... [Read More]




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Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?

Edinburgh, 15 June
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