The first symposium focusing on the sociological aspects related to mitochondrial diseases and new reproductive technologies was held in London on 7 May 2017.
This symposium allowed debates surrounding the legalisation of 3-parent IVF in 2015 to be reviewed retrospectively, the social, cultural and economic context fuelling discussions to be examined and subjects barely considered on this occasion, if at all,to be broached.
Stakeholders have repeatedly criticised the lack of transparency surrounding issues of major importance. For instance, Doctor Cathy Herbrand has highlighted the medical, legal and financial limits of techniques that are accessible only to a limited group of women, despite the high number of potential users announced in the media and cited in public debates.
Dr. Ken Taylor from Newcastle University has commented on the way in which these debates have been held. Mitochondrial donation has been presented as the only appropriate reproduction option and some concerns remain regarding safety in an emergency context. The entire examination process has been expedited.
Furthermore, Dr. Rebecca Dimond has sought to explain why patients supported legalisation of the technology. She showed that media coverage of patient experiences in particular had played a key role in changing legislation even if patients did not actually want to use the technology themselves.
Last but not least, the symposium allowed social scientists to discuss the practical difficulties of conducting research in a highly politicised and emotive domain.
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