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The Special Status of Mary Warnock: From Fertility Treatment to Embryo Research

Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 5.30PM - 7.00PM (BST)
Online Event
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This event discussed the enduring legacy of the late Baroness Mary Warnock.

The event was chaired by Sarah Norcross, with speakers including Professor Sarah Franklin, Professor Emily Jackson, Professor Alison Murdoch and Peter Thompson. Find out more about the speakers and chair here.

The event was produced by the Progress Educational Trust (PET), and was sponsored by the British Fertility Society, the London Egg Bank, Theramex and Reproduction and Fertility (an open-access, peer-reviewed journal from the Society for Reproduction and Fertility).

The themes of the event are set out below.


Baroness Mary Warnock (1924-2019) was a Patron of PET, and did much to shape the worlds of fertility treatment and embryo research.

Among her contributions, Baroness Warnock led a UK Government committee whose 1984 report – often referred to simply as the Warnock Report – is perhaps the world's most influential analysis of the ethics of assisted conception and related research.

The Warnock Report remains foundational to UK law and policy. The report proposes 'that the embryo of the human species ought to have a special status' – neither equivalent to the status of a person, nor equivalent to the status of a tissue or an organ.

This event discussed Mary Warnock's own 'special status', including the significance of her life and work to current and future developments in science, medicine, law, policy and ethics.

Attendees will not be audible or visible during this online event, but will still be able to put questions and comments to the speakers and chair, via a Q&A tool within Zoom Video Webinars.