Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre

Dr Mohar Goswami

Dr Mohar Goswami

Project summary

Dr Goswami was approved for admission to MD in Newcastle University in 2013. Her thesis title was ‘Embryo cryopreservation: clinical outcomes and couples’ perspectives’.

Her external examiner was Professor R.A. Anderson, MRC University of Edinburgh Centre for Reproductive Health. Her internal examiner was Professor Jackie Leach Scully, Professor of Social Ethics and Bioethics, PEALS.

The supervisors of her thesis were Professor Alison Murdoch, Head of the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, and Professor Erica Haimes, Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of PEALS.

Dr Goswami’s thesis investigated the question, 'Should we be freezing embryos?' from two aspects:

  1. The influence of embryo freezing on in vitro fertilization success rates.
  2. The decision-making process by which couples decide whether or not to freeze any surplus embryos.

The first element showed that embryo freezing imparts a modest benefit of about a 4% increase in the cumulative pregnancy rate following three cycles of treatment.

Interviews with IVF couples showed that regardless of the limited practical benefits of freezing embryos and the ethical and other reservations that couples have about embryo freezing, the vast majority of IVF couples wish to avail themselves of the opportunity to freeze any surplus embryos, and use every additional opportunity to maximize their chances of having a baby.

Their decision-making process was complex and nuanced, and was fully appreciated only on reflection.