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CONTENTS Issue #532
Moving surrogacy law forward? The Department of Health's consultation on parental orders
TV Review: Fix Me
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Welcome to BioNews by email, published by the Progress Educational Trust, providing you with news, comment and reviews on genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas. 

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Moving surrogacy law forward? The Department of Health's consultation on parental orders
27 October 2009 - by Natalie Gamble and Louisa Ghevaert
Of all the prospective parents conceiving through assisted reproduction, those in surrogacy arrangements often face the most difficult legal issues. The surrogate and usually also her husband will be treated as the child's legal parents at birth, leaving the commissioning parents with no legal connection with their child whatsoever, even where both are the biological parents.... [Read More]
Conviction for cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk
26 October 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A South Korean court has convicted disgraced stem cell scientist, Hwang Woo-Suk, of embezzling funds and purchasing human eggs for research, after a trial lasting over three years. Hwang was given a two-year sentence suspended for three years by the Seoul Central District Court last week... [Read More]
Intending mothers fight for maternity leave following surrogacy
29 October 2009 - by Nishat Hyder
Following new UK government guidelines on surrogacy published last month aimed at improving the rights of surrogacy patients, Ministers are now facing a new legal challenge calling for further changes in the law.... [Read More]
Scotland's IVF 'postcode lottery' challenged
29 October 2009 - by Ben Jones
The Labour party is urging the Scottish parliament to take action to standardise IVF provision across Scotland, after Labour MSP Jackie Baillie discovered wide disparities in provision between the 11 Scottish NHS boards. Ms Baillie contacted all of the boards after having been approached by a constituent who was upset about the length of IVF waiting lists where they lived.... [Read More]
'Selfish' tumor cells point to link between older fathers and genetic diseases
2 November 2009 - by Heidi Colleran
Researchers from the University of Oxford and Copenhagen University Hospital have discovered a surprising link between the development of rare but benign testicular tumors and the genetic transmission of certain genetic diseases, such as achondroplasia (commonly known as dwarfism), Apert, Noonan and Costello syndromes, as well as some conditions causing stillbirth. The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Danish Cancer Society, and published in the journal Nature Genetics, could help e... [Read More]
Scientists demonstrate progress in stem cell therapies to repair damaged sight
28 October 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
Clinical studies presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in the United States have shown that stem cells may be used effectively in the treatment of eye disease and other retinal damage. As reported by Science Daily, in separate trials researchers demonstrated that fetal cells and retinal precursor cells derived from embryonic stem cells and also those developed using iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells can help regenerate damaged areas of... [Read More]
Key genes for sperm and egg formation identified
2 November 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
US scientists have succeeded in creating early-stage sperm and egg cells from human embryonic stem cells (ES cells). By studying these artificially created sperm and eggs, the research team have identified three key genes that are involved in the development of these cells. The findings, published in the journal Nature, may one day lead to a cure for some causes of infertility.... [Read More]
One embryo as good as two for IVF success
1 November 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
Transferring only one embryo during IVF treatment significantly reduces the risk of multiple births without considerably altering a woman's chances of conceiving and having a baby, report Swedish researchers.... [Read More]
Gene therapy mends damaged lungs for transplant
2 November 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
Donor lungs damaged before transplantation can be repaired using a gene therapy technique developed by a team of scientists in Canada. This may increase the supply of functional lungs for transplant patients, by using organs that are currently discarded.... [Read More]
Late motherhood causes steep rise in Down syndrome diagnoses
1 November 2009 - by Nienke Korsten
According to figures published in the British Medical Journal last week, the number of diagnoses of Down syndrome in babies and fetuses in England and Wales has risen by 71 per cent over the past 20 years. This is attributed to an increase in maternal age over this period. A concurrent increase in terminations of affected pregnancies as a result of improved prenatal screening methods has meant that numbers of live births with Down syndrome have fallen by one per cent, whereas they would have ... [Read More]
Gene therapy restores significant vision in congenital blindness
1 November 2009 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy
US doctors have used gene therapy to restore significant vision in 12 patients who were previously blinded by a disease called Leber's congenital amaurosis. The study, conducted by researchers at the Children`s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was published online in the Lancet on 24 October.... [Read More]
Stress can enhance chemical damage to male fertility
1 November 2009 - by Dr Jay Stone
Exposure to a combination of excessive stress and everyday chemicals whilst in the womb can have implications for future male fertility, according to Dr Amanda Drake and colleagues from the Centre for Cardiovascular Science and Reproductive Biology at the Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh.... [Read More]
Lying down after artificial insemination improves pregnancy rates, study shows
2 November 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A study in the Netherlands has shown that lying down following artificial insemination, also known as intrauterine insemination (IUI), increases the chances of pregnancy by 50 per cent.... [Read More]
Top IVF clinic mistakenly uses genetically abnormal sperm to treat infertile couples
2 November 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
A mistake at one of London's top fertility clinics has resulted in more than 11 women being treated with genetically abnormal sperm, according to an exposé published in the Independent on Sunday newspaper this week. If passed on, the chromosomal abnormality carried by the sperm could have triggered miscarriages or resulted in the birth of a child with serious chromosomal disorder.... [Read More]
TV Review: Fix Me
2 November 2009 - by Jenny Dunlop
BBC 2, 27 October 2009... [Read More]

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