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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 17 January 2000

17 January 2000

17 January 2000 A British bioethicist has predicted that, since medical advances are helping people to live longer, society may have to decide on the maximum allowable lifespan. Those who reached the agreed age might be killed "to make way for future generations". [Dr John Harris, holder of the Sir David Alliance chair in bioethics, University of Manchester, reported in The Independent on Sunday, 16 January 2000] A decline in human fertility means that Europe will need 150 million immigrants in the next 25 years to maintain its workforce, according to the United Nations. The number of British couples seeking help with problems with conception has increased by 55% in the past five years. Oestrogen from contraceptive pills in the water-supply may be the cause of a decline in sperm-counts. [Sunday Times, 16 January 2000] A new morning-after pill with fewer side-effects will be available on prescription in Britain within two months. Schering Health Care's Levonelle will contain progestogen but, unlike the PC4 morning-after pill, it will not also contain oestrogen. The company claims that Levonelle is better tolerated and less likely to cause nausea. [The Express, 17 January 2000] The British government is expected to respond "shortly" to a suggestion that children who are conceived using a dead man's sperm should be deemed as having that man as their father. The proposal is part of Professor Sheila McLean's "Review of the Common Law Provisions relating to the Removal of Gametes and of the Consent Provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990". [Ms Yvette Cooper, parliamentary under-secretary of state for health, Official Report, House of Commons, 13 January 2000] A British woman wants to have slices of her preserved ovary implanted in her arm in the hope of producing eggs. Ms Debbie Howells was afflicted by ovarian cancer but had non-cancerous ovarian tissue frozen. She and her husband are already fostering and are having a baby with a surrogate mother who is 16 weeks pregnant. Ovary-tissue implantation could allow women in their 50s and 60s to have babies. [Clare Smales, The Mail on Sunday, 16 January 2000] This bulletin is privately circulated by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 5/6 St Matthew Street, London, United Kingdom, SW1P 2JT, +44 20 7222 5845. The reliability of the news herein is dependent on the cited sources and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the society. Please forward this bulletin to other interested parties. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an appropriate email to Paul Danon, SPUC information officer, as

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