Explores the new reproductive technologies, the opportunities they provide, and the profound social challenges they pose.
Why join the course?
This course looks at six different areas of assisted reproduction and explores both the science and the impact they are having. The course is structured as a journey, taking as its starting point a person or couple who might make use of technology in order to conceive. The course also looks at the powerful new genetic techniques that are creating new opportunities i the field of reproduction.
Understand the choices that surround assisted reproduction
A person or a couple might go through assisted fertility using their own sperm and eggs, and in that case the journey would be quite straightforward. This course covers those cases where the choices might be more difficult, and where more thought is required. These choices include whether:
to access fertility online
to freeze eggs to preserve fertility
to choose a known or an anonymous donor
to use a surrogate (and, if so, in an ethical way)
to test the embryo or baby for genetic abnormalities
whether to allow future development in human genome editing
All of these issues pose urgent ethical challenges. But who decides what’s right or wrong? Who is potentially harmed? And how is this changing our society?
Explore the challenges posed by reproductive technology
Making Babies in the 21st Century will look at human reproduction in an age where reproductive technology is becoming more common, exploring the social, ethical and legal challenges that currently confront us. The course will enable you to:
explore how technology is changing the way babies are made and how family life is constructed;
appreciate the key ethical dilemmas that these new technologies bring;
and gain awareness of the social aspects of the relevant ethical challenges
Learn with UCL’s Institute for Women’s Health
The course has been created by Dr Dan Reisel, a research associate and clinical research fellow in Women’s Health at UCL. The content of the course grows out of the ethics teaching at the Institute for Women’s Health, and brings together clinicians, scientists, patient advocates and students interested in the ethical and social implications of the new reproductive and genomic technologies.
What topics will you cover?
The topics of the course are listed below.
Regulation of donor gametes (egg and sperm)
Fertility preservation (egg freezing)
Donor anonymity and parental disclosure
International surrogacy agreements, including surrogacy
Genetic testing of embryos and early in pregnancy
The prospect of human genome editing
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…
Following the course, learners will be able to synthesise information from a number of different fields.
Critically assess the accuracy and value of information about assisted fertility that is provided in the public domain (i.e., on the internet).
Be able to confidently contribute to the vital societal conversation around the use of reproductive and genetic technologies.
Demonstrate knowledge of the science and ethics-legal aspects of assisted fertility.
Develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which fertility medicine is changing the way babies are born and the way families are constructed.
Be able to explain how each of the technologies covered in the course are changing the way people think about fertility and families.
Be able to reflect critically on the advantages and disadvantages of the new reproductive technologies.
Who is the course for?
Making Babies in the 21st Century is intended for anyone interested to learn more about reproductive technology, including medical and healthcare students; clinicians and nurses working in women’s health; scientists and biotechnologists involved in reproductive medicine, and couples and individuals seeking advice and information about fertility.
Healthcare professionals might find the the Certificate of Achievement for this course useful for providing evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), or commitment to their career.
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