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Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is a professional association based in England. Its members, including people with and without medical degrees, work in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology[1], that is, pregnancy, childbirth, and female sexual and reproductive health. RCOG is dedicated to "improving sexual and reproductive healthcare worldwide",[2] and just over half of its 11,000 members live outside Britain, spread among 83 other countries.[3].

It was founded as the British College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1929 by Professor William Blair-Bell and Sir William Fletcher Shaw and was granted a Royal Charter on 21 March 1947.[4] It has as its object "The encouragement of the study and the advancement of the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology", although its governing documents impose no specific restrictions on its operation.[5] Its offices are near Regent's Park in central London.

The College promotes standards of care in obstetrics and gynaecology by a programme of research, publication, and review. Areas of prenatal studies have included the effect of obesity of the expectant mother on frequency of birth defects.[6] The College examines and evaluates other researchers' results, as in the 1999 claim that coffee could cause miscarriage, which they found to be unsupported[7], and the claimed connection between breast cancer and abortion, which RCOG also found unsupported[8].

RCOG has published many informational guides and studies, including thirty on contraception, twenty-four on pregnancy complications, and five on abortion.[9] Other topics covered include cancer, breastfeeding, diabetes in pregnancy, and neonatology (resuscitation of the newborn, in which skill RCOG recommends that all professionals present at the time of birth are proficient)[10]. In addition, the College publishes books ranging from biographies of significant people in the profession, to textbooks for trainees, to results of research.

The laws of Great Britain allow women up to the 24th week of pregnancy to obtain an abortion, subject to two doctors agreeing that it would be less damaging to her physical or mental health than continuing with the pregnancy. (The law in Northern Ireland is more restrictive.) RCOG recommends that women should be offered a choice of different methods, subject to circumstances.[8] Anti-abortion campaigners have taken the opportunity of a parliamentary human tissue and embryology bill to propose an amendment reducing the time limits, and in evidence to an enquiry by MPs the RCOG joined the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing in stating in evidence that the upper time limit for abortion should remain at 24 weeks. The RCOG also supported proposals by the BMA that abortion should be available to women in the first three months of pregnancy on the basis of "informed consent" without the need for the permission of two doctors.[11] [12][13]

In 2006 the RCOG made a submission to a Nuffield Council on Bioethics enquiry into critical care in foetal and neonatal medicine, looking at the ethical, social and legal issues which may arise when making decisions surrounding treating extremely premature babies. The College stated that there should be discussion over whether "deliberate intervention" to cause death in severely disabled newborn babies should be legalised, while stating that it was not necessarily in favour of the move, but felt it should be debated. The Church of England submission supported the view that doctors should be given the right to withhold treatment from seriously disabled newborn babies in exceptional circumstances, and the Christian Medical Fellowship stated that when treatment would be "a burden" this was not euthanasia.[14][15][16]

See also


  1. ^ RCOG, "Summary of Membership Categories". Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  2. ^ RCOG, "International Office Strategy." Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  3. ^ RCOG, "International". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  4. ^ Privy Council web site. Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  5. ^ RCOG, "Annual Report and Accounts" (2005-12-31). Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  6. ^ Birth defects more common with fat mothers The Telegraph Retrieved 2007-08-25
  7. ^ Caffeine blamed for miscarriages BBC Retrieved 2007-08-25
  8. ^ a b About abortion care: what you need to know Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Retrieved 2007-08-25
  9. ^ RCOG, [ RCOG Publishing] Retrieved 2007-08-25.
  10. ^ RCOG, [ Training and Maintenance of Skills for Professionals Responsible for Resuscitation of Babies at Birth] Retrieved 2007-08-25
  11. ^ Abortion Rights, "Government robustly rejects minority push for abortion law review" (2006-07-04). Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  12. ^ Hennessy, Patrick and Donnelly, Laura. "MPs prepare for abortion fight", Sunday Telegraph (2007-05-07). Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  13. ^ Lucy Ward, social affairs correspondent (October 11, 2007). Two-signature rule on abortions should be abandoned, say doctors. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
  14. ^ Templeton, Sarah-Kate. "Doctors: let us kill disabled babies", Sunday Times (2006-11-05). Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  15. ^ Church supports baby euthanasia - Times Online (November 12, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
  16. ^ BBC NEWS (12 November 2006). Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Royal_College_of_Obstetricians_and_Gynaecologists". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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