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CONTENTS Issue #509
The case for comprehensive medical testing of gamete donors
Challenge to gene patents in the US
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The case for comprehensive medical testing of gamete donors
26 May 2009 - by Wendy Kramer
The Donor Sibling Registry ('DSR') is a non-profit web-based worldwide organisation dedicated to educating, connecting and supporting those affected by gamete donation, including donors, recipients and offspring. At 25,000 members, the DSR has connected 7000 genetic first degree relatives; hundreds of donors enjoy contact with offspring and thousands of half-siblings... [Read More]
Challenge to gene patents in the US
26 May 2009 - by Selene Kaye
On 12 May, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the US government's practice of granting patents on human genes - specifically, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are associated with breast and ovarian cancer. In the last 20 or so years the... [Read More]
Correction: Tackling issues in cross-border reproductive care
22 May 2009 - by BioNews
In BioNews 508, we published a commentary by Professor Eric Blyth in which he stated that the first International Forum on Cross-Border Reproductive Care, hosted by the Canadian government, took place in January 2008. This should have read 'January 2009', the author has since advised us. A corrected version of... [Read More]
US lawsuit challenges corporate monopoly on gene patents
22 May 2009 - by Heidi Colleran
A major lawsuit in the US is challenging the right of private companies to hold patents on genes involved in diseases, as well as their right to offer exclusive genetic tests. The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU), the Public Patent Foundation (PPF), more than a dozen universities... [Read More]
Petitions call for end to IVF discrimination and 'Postcode Lottery' in the UK
26 May 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
Two separate online petitions are calling for a change to the way IVF services are provided under the UK's National Health Service (NHS). Janine Macallister, 27, of Newport, Shropshire and Richard Mackenzie, 29, from Whitney, Oxfordshire have each started a petition calling for their local Primary Care... [Read More]
Gene clue to lower cancer incidence in Down's syndrome
26 May 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
US scientists have identified a gene that may explain why individuals with Down syndrome are less prone to certain cancers. The findings, published in the journal Nature, may eventually lead to new treatments for cancer if scientists can find a way of mimicking this gene's effect in... [Read More]
Obama pleads for common ground on morally diverse issues
26 May 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
US President Barack Obama has addressed a congregation of students, academics and their families at Notre Dame, a leading Catholic university in Indiana, on issues that are currently, and have been for some time, dividing public opinion in the United States. His speech centred around what he... [Read More]
NHS fails to use most effective screening for Down's Syndrome
26 May 2009 - by Rosie Beauchamp
Dr Anne Mackie, the head of the UK's National Health Service (NHS), has disclosed in an interview with the Guardian newspaper that an estimated 146 healthy fetuses are aborted each year in the attempt to detect those with genetic conditions. This number is thought to be higher... [Read More]
First UK fertility law firm launches
26 May 2009 - by Sandy Starr
A new UK law firm is the first in the country to specialise exclusively in fertility and parenting law. The firm, Gamble and Ghevaert LLP, has been founded by lawyers Natalie Gamble and Louisa Ghevaert to cater for a diverse range of families including lesbian couples, single... [Read More]
66 year old women is Britain's oldest mother-to-be
26 May 2009 - by Dr Sarah Spain
The record for Britain's oldest women to give birth will be broken next month by 66 year old Elizabeth Munro, from Cambridge. It is thought that Ms Munro, who is single and a successful business woman, travelled to the Ukraine to become pregnant using donor eggs and... [Read More]
Worse health for IVF twins but no harm in embryo freezing
26 May 2009 - by Ben Jones
Two studies have provided an insight into the health implications of using assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). The first finds that twins conceived by ART are more likely to be born preterm, be of low birthweight and to be 60 per cent more likely to be admitted into... [Read More]
Germany passes genetic test laws
26 May 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts
Last week, following ten years of debate, the upper house of the German Parliament (the 'Bundesrat') provided the final stage of legislative assent to a strict framework of laws aimed at preventing the misuse of genetic tests. The legal impact is far-reaching setting stringent limits on paternity... [Read More]

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