Surrogacy the topic of this year's precongress course

We have already been involved in several events of 2018, the first in Barcelona in January on Egg donation: medical, psychological and ethical considerations, a course designed to provide an overview of all relevant issues related to oocyte donation. These included matters such as cross-border movement of patients and donors, recruitment of donors (including alternative systems such as egg sharing), genetic screening of donors, quality measures for egg banks, and donor anonymity and identifiability.

In February we took part in a two-day symposium in which experts in bioethics and assisted conception explored the theme of Access and diversity of medically assisted reproduction in Europe, hosted with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. This was a fascinating two days in which perspectives from bioethicists, legal experts, scientists, politicians, patient groups and practitioners were presented to give a comprehensive overview of the different regulatory approaches across Europe.

Forthcoming events
Our precongress course in Barcelona is hosted with the SIG SQART and features Surrogacy: a gift with consequences. This is a highly complex and controversial treatment, which is either banned in several countries, or allowed by law or contract with varied conditions both for the surrogate (and her family) and intended parent(s). The process requires a high level of knowledge and expertise to protect all parties in the contract and the welfare of the future child. Commercialisation is also hotly debated both at national and international 'cross border' levels. We will discuss the various aspects of the process, from indications to the social and ethical questions raised when the number of stakeholders is so varied.

We are also pleased to be running an ASRM Exchange session on The relevance of embryo research at the ASRM Annual Meeting in Denver in October. Embryo research is still a hotly debated subject and will be of growing importance in the coming years. Given its contentious nature, transparency is of utmost importance. Yet remarkably little information is available on the actual practice of embryo research. Experiences from two countries - Belgium and the UK - will provide an invaluable perspective for ASRM members on both the scientific and ethical issues raised and their links with clinical practice.

Along with the SIG Socio-cultural aspects of (in)fertility we will be organising a pre-congress course at the 2019 ESHRE Annual Meeting in Vienna on Global access to assisted reproductive technologies: hurdles and opportunities. This course will consider how cost and funding mechanisms influence the practice of ART and the choices of those wishing to use it.

Lucy Frith
Co-ordinator SIG Ethics & Law