February 20, 2007

Noteworthy conference in British Columbia - May 2007

It looks like an excellent conference will be taking place in Nanaimo, British Columbia this May, called "Nobody's Child, Everybody's Children: An International Conference on New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies". (By the way, B.C. is above Washington State, for you Americans :-) It should be well worth your travel pennies if you can afford it. I would absolutely love to go to this conference but alas, I just don't have the funds at the moment. I'm going to monitor their website and hope to acquire as much information as possible about what took place at the conference.

The main distinguishing feature of this conference is that it will feature the voices of those who are AGAINST repro tech, as well as those who are for it. It will thus allow for a real, balanced debate. Olivia Pratten will be there - the daughter of a sperm donor whom I featured on an earlier blog entry. her mother Shirley Pratten will also be speaking. By the way, they are looking for more voices of donor conceived offspring for a panel discussion, so if you would like to go, let Olivia know: opratten@mailup.net

Another person who will be speaking is Dr. Jeffrey Nisker, the man who gained fame here in Canada as a pioneer of Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). As a doctor at the University of Western Ontario, he was the first person in Canada to offer this procedure, which involves testing IVF embryos for various traits (usually genetic or chromosomal abnormalities) and then choosing the "best" ones to implant. However, Dr. Nisker became disillusioned with the procedure and stopped doing it altogether, because the majority of his customers wanted to use PGD for sex selection, not for a serious medical reason.

Another speaker will be Elizabeth Marquardt, who recently finished the excellent report "The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children's Needs". Also read an article by her here: "My Daddy's Name is Donor".

I've made a "poster" for the conference at the top left. Unfortunately the pic is not "click-able" as I don't know how to do that. If anyone does, please let me know. I've put the URL underneath so you can paste and copy.

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