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Dr Alan Thornhill

Dr Alan Thornhill was previously a Volunteer Writer at BioNews, and an Adviser to the charity that publishes BioNews, the Progress Educational Trust (PET). One of the UK's leading specialists in preimplantation genetics and clinical embryology, he is a Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Scientific Director of the London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre, and Secretary of Alpha, an international forum for scientists in reproductive medicine. He is also a state-registered clinical scientist and human embryo biopsy practitioner and a high-complexity laboratory director as certified by the American Board of Bioanalysis, and he has appeared on TV programmes including Embarrassing Bodies on Channel 4. He was previously Director of Bridge Genoma, the UK's first independent laboratory dedicated to providing preimplantation genetic tests to patients and partner clinics, and he has published over 100 articles on fertility and genetics. His current research interests include the genetics of infertility and reproductive pharmacogenetics. He is editor of Single Cell Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols (buy this book from Amazon UK), and coauthor of a chapter in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (buy this book from Amazon UK).

BioNews Comment articles written by Dr Alan Thornhill:
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Transferring single embryos: Education ain't enough
23 May 2011 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
When asked why having twins isn't a good idea, I struggle. I start trotting out the party line, the obstetric risks and risks to the babies themselves, and then begin to shuffle my feet. It's complicated, I say, hoping they will move onto another topic... [Read More]
Porn in the NHS: A matter of perspective
20 September 2010 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
Julia Manning's report 'Who said pornography was acceptable in the workplace? An investigation into the use of pornography by NHS fertility clinics' is disturbing. All that is missing from this supposed expose is the human story... [Read More]
UK sperm banking: How compromise and inconsistency led to a crisis
29 June 2009 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
Long before the current commercial banking crisis, the UK suffered another banking crisis - that of donor sperm shortages. The difference is that the sperm bank crisis is not global. Instead it is quintessentially British - full of principle and good intention but sadly resulting from compromise and inconsistency. Only the areas of inconsistency are consistent: the removal of anonymity, donor expenses, screening and selection guidelines and the limitations on use of individual donors. Taken s... [Read More]
PGS: It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it...and that's what gets results
17 July 2007 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
Embryo selection following cleavage stage embryo biopsy and chromosome analysis to identify aneuploid embryos (those which have an abnormal number of chromosomes) in every couple having IVF/ICSI or all women of advanced maternal age is rightly considered by most clinics to be too invasive and potentially damaging for routine... [Read More]
PGD for early onset Alzheimer's disease: Preventing disease...not the cure
17 April 2007 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
We are currently planning to help the first British couple have a baby free from the risk of developing early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD). Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for this disease, which affects individuals in middle age (40s and 50s) - rather than the more common Alzheimer's whose effects are suffered considerably... [Read More]
Pharmacogenetics in assisted reproduction: optimising response to ovarian stimulation
28 January 2007 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
Pharmacogenetics is not new. One of our authors famously can drink a bottle of wine with little effect. The other falls asleep after just one glass. Indeed, the speed at which alcohol is broken down in the body is partly genetically determined. This principle applies to most, if not all... [Read More]
Designer babies or designer news?
15 May 2006 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
Once again the media have a new designer baby story. Sorry, but there's nothing really new here. No new ethical arguments, new techniques or disease types. Not a designer baby in sight. What is new is the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to expand the list... [Read More]
Recruiting egg donors after the removal of anonymity
14 March 2005 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
From the perspective of a child born from donated gametes, an imminent change in the UK law waiving anonymity for donors may be a dream come true; from a service provider's perspective, it is already a nightmare. Beginning this April, the UK Government has determined that children born from egg... [Read More]