Educational and historical IVF videos

Choosing Your Baby
Baroness Ruth Deech

Choosing Your Baby
Presented by: Baroness Ruth Deech
Submitted By: James Franklin
Website: Gresham College
Date: 20th November 2008
Time: 44:30

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Baroness Ruth Deech DBE is the Gresham Professor of Law and the former Chairperson of the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Authority.

"How IVF and embryology have developed to enable would-be parents to use embryo diagnosis to select an embryo free of an inherited disease. We will question whether this has an adverse effect on attitudes towards the disabled. How do we draw the line between eugenics and doing the best for the unborn child? The advantages and disadvantages of choosing the sex of a baby, and attitudes in other countries. In future might it be possible to select the child's traits through embryo selection? The new law on this will be explained."

Professor the Baroness Deech DBE

Gresham Professor of Law


Professor the Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from St. Anne's College, Oxford, before going on to further legal studies in the U.S.A. and the Netherlands. Three years after being called to the Bar (Inner Temple), she returned to St. Anne's College, Oxford, where she took up the position of Tutorial Fellow in Law, a position she held until she became the Principal of the College in 1991.

During this period, Professor Deech held a number of highly prestigious international positions within academia, the legal profession and beyond. These include Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford (2001-2004) and BBC Governor on the Audit and Fair Trade Committees (2002-2006). In 2004 she stepped down from her positions at Oxford and became the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (2004-2008).

Professor Deech's specialisation is in reproductive law, medicine and ethics. Through this she was the Chairman of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1994-2002), a non-executive Director of the Oxfordshire Health Authority (1993-1994) and an ex officio member of the Human Genetics Commission (1991-2002).

Professor Deech will use her Gresham Law Professorship to focus on the legal and ethical issues surrounding reproductive medicine. Development in this field is swift and global, making it essential that the public is informed of the advances, possibilities, risks and issues around the complex ethical and health factors involved. In this way, Professor Deech's lectures will be important to pass on the specialist knowledge and expertise so that lawyers, medical professionals and the general public can make informed decisions and carry out constructive dialogue.

Gresham College has provided free public lectures since 1597 and today offers almost daily lectures within the City of London. Since the year 2000, all of our lectures have been recorded and made available for free through our website (

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