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News: Scientists call for new ethical guidelines for 'synthetic embryos'

02 April 2017 by Dr Rachel Huddart

Rapid advances in stem cell and embryo research are in danger of outstripping current ethical guidelines and new regulations are urgently needed, warn scientists in a report published this week.

'Synthetic' structures – such as organoids or embryos assembled from stem cells in the lab – are increasingly being used in cutting-edge research. These structures, referred to in the report as 'synthetic human entities with embryo-like features' (SHEEFs), are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and even more complex examples could soon be seen – for example, a rudimentary brain connected to a beating heart.

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News: Donated sperm in Florida counties may be infected with Zika

02 April 2017 by Annabel Slater

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified a potential risk of Zika virus transmission from donor sperm in the Florida tri-county area.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause brain abnormalities, microcephaly, and congenital Zika syndrome. Now officials have found more people in the area may have been infected by Zika than previously thought, and could have donated infected sperm.

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News: Failed fertility treatment linked to higher risk of heart disease and stroke

02 April 2017 by Meetal Solanki

A study has revealed a possible link between unsuccessful fertility treatments and a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Researcher found that women who did not become pregnant after fertility treatment had a 19 percent higher cardiovascular risk of experiencing cardiac events compared with women who had become pregnant following treatment.

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News: First London CCG axes IVF funding

02 April 2017 by Sarah Pritchard

Croydon has become the first Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in London to cut funding for all IVF treatment, other than in 'exceptional circumstances'.

The decision was made by the CCG as part of efforts to plug the its £36 million financial deficit, estimating that stopping funding one cycle of IVF for infertile couples will save up to £860,000 per year.

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News: HFEA grants first UK licence to carry out mitochondrial donation

02 April 2017 by Georgia Everett

Doctors at Newcastle Fertility Centre have been granted the first UK licence to use mitochondrial donation as a fertility treatment to prevent the inheritance of mitochondrial disease.

The technique, which involves the creation of an embryo derived from the mother, father and a healthy female mitochondrial donor, was approved for clinical use by the  Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in December 2016, but the Newcastle group is the first to have a licence approved by the regulator.

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Announcement: Save The Date - Alpha Conference 2018

20 March 2017 by ALPHA
Save The Date - Alpha Conference 2018

ALPHA's 12th Biennial Conference will take place 17-20 May, 2018 at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, Reykjavík, Iceland.

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News: First genome editing of normal human embryos

19 March 2017 by Dr Katie Howe

Chinese scientists have successfully used genome editing to correct mutations in viable human embryos for the first time.

The study used CRISPR technology, which has previously been used to edit genes in non-viable human embryos. These attempts had very low success rates but it was not known if this was because the embryos had an extra set of chromosomes.

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News: MSc in clinical embryology & preimplantation genetics

14 March 2017 by Dr Yogita
MSc in clinical embryology & preimplantation genetics

MSc in Clinical Embryology & Pre-implantation Genetics from The University of Mysore, India, offered by ASPIER (Asia Pacific Institute of Embryology)

On the occasion of centenary celebrations of the University of Mysore,ASPIER offers the above course starting from July-2016.

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News: Artificial mouse embryo created out of stem cells

12 March 2017 by Anna Leida

Stem cells from an adult mouse have been used to grow a structure resembling a mouse embryo in vitro for the first time.

The ability to study the early stages of embryo development outside the womb may one day help explain why a significant number of human pregnancies fail. This breakthrough in developmental research originated from the same team at University of Cambridge which recently developed a technique that allows human embryos to develop in the lab up to the legal limit of 14 days in the UK.

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News: Use of prenatal tests 'must be limited', say bioethicists

12 March 2017 by Emma Laycock

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has called for a ban on using early prenatal testing to find out the sex or sequence the whole genome of the fetus.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a simple blood test which analyses fetal DNA in a pregnant woman. From 2018, the NHS will offer the test for high-risk pregnancies at nine weeks to screen for Down's syndrome and other conditions.

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