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Defending life from the moment of conception

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BMA against regulatory merger

28 May 2007

The British Medical Association is opposed to the proposal, included in the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, to merge two regulatory bodies: the Human Fertilization and Embryology authority which deals with IVF and embryo research, and the Human Tissue Authority which deals with pathology, anatomy, storage of tissue, transplantation and public display of human material. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, BMA head of ethics and science, said that a single body was unlikely to have the necessary knowledge and expertise to deal with all these complex and sensitive issues. [Medical News Today, 18 May]

Many young women with breast cancer need not risk losing their fertility through chemotherapy, according to a review published in The Lancet. The drug Zoladex has been shown to be as effective as chemotherapy in lower-risk cancers, and fertility returns once the woman is in remission and off the drug. [Guardian, 18 May]

The British government has published proposals for consultation that would allow mothers to transfer some of their statutory maternity leave and pay to fathers if they return to work. The scheme would allow the father to notify his employer, who would not be required to verify the arrangement with the mother's employer. Adoptive parents and civil partners will also be covered by the proposals. [Personnel Today, 18 May]

The British government has welcomed a report which says that some palliative care for children is inadequate. Mr Ivan Lewis MP, health minister, said his department would respond to Prof Alan Craft and Ms Sue Killen's review in the summer. The authors call for national standards, more funds, and better end-of-life care. [Wired-GOV, 17 May]

Aspirin could prevent pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, according to an analysis of research led by Dr Lisa Askie of Sydney university, Australia. The survey suggests a 10% fall in risk when substances which stopped blood-clotting (including aspirin) were administered. The study, which appeared in the Lancet online, is accompanied by discussion of how widely the treatment should be offered in light of side-effects. In the UK, pre-eclampsia reportedly kills 10 women and 1,000 babies annually. [Guardian, 17 May]

Fpa, formerly the Family Planning Association, has launched a leaflet aimed at pregnant women who are uncertain about whether to keep their baby. It mentions keeping the baby and adoption as well as abortion. [Medical News Today, 17 May]

A cardinal has called for the late Professor Jérôme Lejeune, the French pro-life paediatrician and geneticist, to be made a saint. Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, former president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, made the suggestion during the Pontifical Academy for Life's assembly earlier this year. Professor Lejeune discovered the extra chromosome which causes Down's syndrome and worked with disabled children. He was an expert witness in abortion-related court cases. [Down Syndrome Association Malta magazine, June] Professor Lejeune was president of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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