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Loyola University New Orleans School of Law hosts international conference on new reproductive technologies

Loyola press release - October 1, 1998

Conference examines the legal, ethical and medical ramifications of new reproductive technologies

(New Orleans)—In an effort to respond to the legal, ethical and medical ramifications of new reproductive technologies, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law will host "Pushing the Boundaries: An Interdisciplinary Examination of New Reproductive Technologies" on October 16 and 17, 1998.

Louise Brown was born 20 years ago on July 25. Her birth was not only a momentous occasion for her parents, but it marked a milestone in medical technology. Brown was the first child conceived and born through the medical technique known as in vitro fertilization. Since the birth of Louise Brown new technologies have arisen with accompanying challenges, and statistics show that the debate will continue.

Today, infertility affects about 6.1 million people in the U.S.–about 10 percent of the reproductive age population, according to The American Society for Reproductive Medicine. A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states there were 11,315 women who gave birth through assisted reproductive technologies in 1995. Researchers from Georgetown University and the National Center for Health Statistics have re-examined projections of infertility and have concluded that as many as 7.7 million women and their partners could be infertile in 25 years.

The conference will bring together national experts including Richard McCormick, John O’Brien Professor of Christian Ethics at Notre Dame University; and John A. Robertson, Vinson & Elkins Professor of Law at the University of Texas, whose names are synonymous with this issue. Discussions will cover everything from fertility and insurance issues to legal problems associated with posthumous conception.

Other speakers include Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, the Leon Sarpy Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans; Mary K. Pelias, professor of biometry and genetics at Louisiana State University Medical Center; Dr. Richard Dickey, medical director of the Fertility Institute of New Orleans; and Nancy Hart, whose posthumously conceived daughter was initially denied Social Security benefits upon the death of her father.

"The use of new reproductive technologies is more widespread than many people imagine," says Lorio who is coordinating the conference. "As our society grapples with the proper response to this phenomenon, the Loyola law school has taken the initiative to bring together various players from diverse disciplines for a responsible exchange of information."

Founded in 1914, the Loyola School of Law operates both a day program for full-time students and evening program for part-time students with a total enrollment of approximately 680 and 32 full-time faculty members. The law school is a member of the Association of American Law schools and is accredited by the American Bar Association.