The Nuffield Council has hosted its annual ‘Bioethics in Parliament’ event in the House of Lords where MPs, peers and others explored some of the issues surrounding the question ‘How far should we go to meet the demand for organs, eggs, sperm and other bodily material?’

The event – which took place on 17 November and was hosted by Professor Lord Harries of Pentregarth – included a one-hour debate where invited speakers addressed questions arising from the Council’s current Working Party on human bodies in medicine and research.

The speakers were Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern, chair of the Working Party, who set out issues relating to the question of ‘demand’ for bodily material; Tessa Dunlop, a broadcaster who recounted her father’s experience of donating his body for medical research; and Vivienne Nathanson of the British Medical Association who discussed the perceived shortages of certain bodily material, and the importance of communication between medical professionals, donors, recipients and families.

Bioethics in Parliament 2010

The debate continued with a lively question and answer session with members of the audience. The discussion will be reported in Science and Parliament magazine in the New Year, and will inform the Working Party’s deliberations as it continues its work.

For more information on the Working Party, see: