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Antony Blackburn-Starza

Antony Blackburn-Starza is a Volunteer Writer at BioNews. He was previously Legal Editor at BioNews and at the charity that publishes it, the Progress Educational Trust (PET). 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. He 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:
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Fertility treatment add-ons: do they add up?
3 April 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
The controversial issue of IVF 'add-ons' – techniques and treatments offered to fertility patients on top of standard IVF – has been the subject of intense debate and media attention since last November's BBC Panorama's documentary, which claimed that many techniques advertised on fertility clinics websites were not backed up by good scientific evidence of success... [Read More]
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?
8 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
7 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]

BioNews Review articles written by Antony Blackburn-Starza:
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Book Review: Regulating Reproductive Donation
3 October 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
This collection of essays from leading lawyers, fertility professionals, social scientists, ethicists, and others documents the experiences of families engaging in assisted conception, adding to the growing body of empirical studies in this area... [Read More]
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
9 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
8 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
5 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:
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Japan prepares to allow genome editing in human embryos
8 October 2018 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
Japan has introduced draft guidelines on genome editing that would permit the use of the approach, including CRISPR/Cas9, in human embryos for research purposes... [Read More]
US surrogate sues agency over taking genetic son
28 August 2018 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A US woman who gave birth to her own child while acting as a surrogate for another couple is reportedly suing the surrogacy agency involved for damages... [Read More]
'Outdated and inadequate' UK surrogacy laws set for reform
8 May 2018 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, have announced that they will review the law around surrogacy and make recommendations for reform... [Read More]
Woman in same-sex couple wins parental rights after divorce
9 April 2018 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
The Mississippi Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that an anonymous sperm donor has parental rights over a child born to a lesbian couple, upholding the legal parenthood of the non-biological mother... [Read More]
'Baby-factory' father wins custody of 13 children born via surrogacy
26 February 2018 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A court in Thailand has awarded a Japanese man paternity rights over 13 children born through surrogacy, meaning that can now apply for custody of them... [Read More]
US surrogate fights for own genetic baby
6 November 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A US surrogate has been united with her genetic child who she carried alongside the intended parents' embryo in an apparent case of superfetation... 
Father loses claim against clinic after ex forged IVF consent
9 October 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A man has lost his claim for damages against a London IVF clinic for failing to obtain his consent for the use of embryos created with his former partner... [Read More]
Actor Sofia Vergara frozen embryo lawsuit dismissed
4 September 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A Louisiana court has ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the frozen embryo dispute between actor Sofia Vergara and her ex-fiance Nick Loeb, in a move that may end the two-year legal saga between the couple... [Read More]
Israel court postpones judgment on 'discriminatory' surrogacy law
7 August 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
An Israeli Supreme Court justice has criticised the country's laws on surrogacy as 'apparently discriminatory', while postponing a long-awaited ruling on a surrogacy petition pending draft legislation...
High Court rejects fertility clinic challenge to HFEA website
24 April 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A claim for judicial review that sought to challenge changes to the way the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) presents data about UK fertility clinics on its website has failed... [Read More]