That's Life Week

Published: Wednesday 13th August 2014

A week where the big social issues are examined at ACU.

Monday 18 August 2014, 7.30pm to 9pm

Phillipa Brazill Lecture Theatre, 17 Young St Fitzroy


Australian Catholic University (ACU) invites you to attend the annual 'Life Week' public forum:

A Great Debate: ‘Is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis a neo-eugenics project?’


Professor Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford


Dr Bernadette Tobin, Director, Plunkett Centre for Ethics at Australian Catholic University

Chaired by Associate Professor Patrick McArdle, Director, Institute for Catholic Identity and Mission.


Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a very early form of prenatal diagnosis aimed at identifying embryos carrying serious genetic diseases before implantation. PGD currently enables the ex-utero identification of genetic defects in the embryo and so allows a woman some certainty that her child will not be affected by a genetic disorder by selecting embryos free of that defect (and discarding others). It thus frees her from the choices generally associated with later prenatal testing, including termination of pregnancy.

On the other hand, PGD is thought by some to be a consumer-driven form of eugenics. Indeed, in the future, it could be used to sequence the whole genome of an embryo, testing for genes associated not only with risk of disease, but abilities and limitation, such as cognitive abilities, physical talents, character and personality, creativity and the genetic contributors to other aspects of our individuality.

Professor Julian Savulescu and Dr Bernadette Tobin will debate the ethical and social meaning and significance of this and related forms of assisted reproductive technology.


For further information contact Joanne Grainger on (03) 9953 3362 or email


 Professor Julian Savulescu holds the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford.

He is the Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy and is Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. He is also Director of the Institute for Science and Ethics within the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He is a leader in medical and practical ethics. He is Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics and founding editor of Journal of Practical Ethics. He is the Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Professor at Monash University and the Honorary Professorial at the Florey Neuroscience Institutes.


Dr Bernadette Tobin is Director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics, a joint centre of Australian Catholic University and St Vincent's and Mater Health Sydney.

She is Conjoint Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales and Conjoint Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is Honorary Ethicist at the Children's Hospital at Westmead.


Sponsored by:

Office of the Vice Chancellor

Institute for Catholic Identity and Mission

Centre for Learning, Teaching and Health for Learning, Teaching and Health