Health : Experts in Fertile Debate

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), April 24, 2001 | Go to article overview

Health : Experts in Fertile Debate


HEAD of Obstetrics at Queen's University Professor Neil McClure is the organiser of the British Fertility Society conference to be held in Belfast this week.

"The event has two purposes," he said, "to educate and to make people think."

Mr McClure is conscious of an agenda which sets out to tackle difficult ethical issues head on, like designer embryos and surrogacy among gay couples.

"The conference will attract delegates from all over the world, who will come to be educated and to discuss the current area of ethical concern. In designing the programme we have sought to meet this need," he added.

With clinicians, nurses, scientists, counsellors and members from patients support groups all due to be present, he said that there would be nothing to be gained by avoiding topics because they were difficult or controversial.

"These are issues which we, who are working in the medical industry, have to face," he said.

"There is a constant demand for surrogate children and more effective IVF techniques," Mr McClure added.

But, while the headlines are preoccupied with the idea of cloning people, Mr McClure said the discussion in some areas is out of step with the science.

"The debate is way ahead of technology with regard to cloning humans, but it is behind in relation to aspects of surrogacy. …

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