Archive for December, 2015|Monthly archive page

Womb transplants – is surrogacy safer?

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2015 at 9:54 pm

Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning

First appeared in BioNews 828

The recent news that the Health Research Authority has given approval to a UK charity to conduct a clinical trial for womb transplants is seen as welcome news for women without wombs (1). Womb Transplant UK, led by Dr Richard Smith, a consultant gynaecologist at the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London, has been given approval to conduct a clinical trial involving ten womb transplants (2).

The donated womb will come from a brain-dead organ donor, and the health of the woman and the womb will be closely monitored for one year before an embryo will be implanted in the womb. The embryo will be created from the recipient’s own egg and her partner’s sperm and, if a pregnancy occurs, the fetus will be delivered at approximately eight months’ gestation by caesarean section. When possible, couples will be given the option of trying for two pregnancies. The transplanted womb is to be removed six months after birth, negating the need to take immune suppressants for life (3,4).

Generally, transplants and advances in transplant procedures are to be welcomed as they can drastically improve the length and quality of life of patients. For example, kidney transplants allow people to live free of lengthy and life-consuming dialysis procedures. While organ transplants are usually carried out for life-lengthening reasons (i.e. without an organ donation, many people would die sooner than, if they received one), womb transplants are not performed for life-lengthening purposes. However, I believe that the potential benefit of womb transplants needs to be more closely examined. The sole purpose and benefit of a womb transplant is to provide the recipient with an opportunity to become pregnant and carry a child and, in this particular trial, any children produced will be genetically related to the woman who received the womb.

To continue reading the rest of the post, please click here: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_586364.asp

Honouring the Contributions of a Founder of Medical Law

In 2015, Conferences, Uncategorized on December 14, 2015 at 9:29 am

Prof. John Coggon

On Friday 4th December, Hazel Biggs, David Gurnham, and I attended a meeting arranged at the University of Manchester to honour the contribution that Margot Brazier has made to the field of Medical Law. It is hard to describe in full enough terms the impact that Margot has had on legal scholarship, understanding, and practice. And even if we limit ourselves to the major area of study that she has pioneered—medical law—it is hard to capture quite how much she has given.

Margot is the quintessential scholar. She excels in her research, as a teacher, and as a figure engaged in significant questions of public ethics and policy. Just consider the research interests of each of HEAL’s core members in the Law School—Hazel Biggs, John Coggon, David Gurnham, Caroline Jones, Natasha Hammond-Browning, Claire Lougarre, Remigius Nwabueze, and A.M. Viens. Not one of us works in a field to which Margot has not offered significant insights and understanding. To repeat a term already used, she is a true pioneer: as was recognised both on the day, and in a festschrift that has been published in her honour.

The conference was a fantastic tribute to Margot’s great work. Hazel was amongst those speaking, but all who attended were able to attest to how much we owe Margot. Lady Hale’s foreword to the festschrift, which was the basis of her speech at the conference, provides in duly flattering terms the essence of what it is that has led to Margot inspiring, encouraging, supporting, mentoring, and advising so many of us in the field. She is a fantastic scholar, whose work—and approach to life—is founded on an uncompromising and deep-seated humanity.

As a whole research centre, we at HEAL are delighted to report our participation in this landmark event, and to thank Margot more than wholeheartedly for having helped define this field of study: I am sure it is fair to say that at least I, if not others in the Centre, would not be here without Margot.

Southampton Law School PhD Scholarships

In 2015, Uncategorized on December 3, 2015 at 8:19 am

A little bit left-field for a HEAL blog post, but in the interests of disseminating to a wider audience, and encouraging future Health Care Law and Ethics PhD students, please find details below & on jobs.ac.uk of scholarships at Southampton Law School. Please note the closing date is 11 January 2016.


Southampton Law School has Studentships available for postgraduate research students admitted full time onto its MPhil/PhD programme and commencing their studies in October 2016. The studentships will last for a maximum of three years (subject to an annual review of progress) and will provide a maintenance allowance of £14,000 per annum, in addition to payment of tuition fees. Successful candidates will be expected to contribute up to 40 hours per year of teaching activities, at the discretion of the Head of School. The awards are available in any area of legal research for which the School can offer expert supervision. This includes (but is not limited to) areas connected to the School’s research centres:

Centre for European Law 
Centre for Health Ethics and Law 
Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation 
Institute of Criminal Justice Research
Institute for Law and the Web 
Institute of Maritime Law 
Insurance Law Group 

For further information on the work of these Centres, see here

Please note the following:

Tuition fees will be paid in full by the School. 

  • To be eligible for consideration, the full application must be submitted by the submission deadline of Monday 11 January 2016. This includes the standard application form, research proposal, CV, and other supporting documentation (transcripts, reference letters, IELTS certificates where necessary, etc.). For the avoidance of doubt, if any of the documents listed have not been submitted by the closing date you will not be eligible for the scholarship.
  • You will also need to allow time to participate in an interview (the interview may take place shortly after the application deadline of Monday 11 January 2016) and for your prospective supervisor(s) to provide a statement of support.
  • These studentships are for full time candidates only. If you are awarded this studentship and transfer to part time registration, you will be deemed to have withdrawn from the studentship.

The Southampton Law School is a vibrant, research-led department. It has a growing and active community of postgraduate research students whose research extends to all areas of the School’s expertise. For further information on our research degrees, including profiles of current students and the application process, see here.
Applicants must apply online, following the normal process, for admission to the MPhil/PhD programme, stating that they wish to be considered for the studentship, by Monday 11 January 2016.
Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Emma Laurie, PGR Programme Director, at Emma.Laurie@soton.ac.uk or Professor Filippo Lorenzon, PGR Admissions Tutor, at F.Lorenzon@soton.ac.uk.