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A public dialogue on reproductive medicine

Discussion paper and evaluation of an open internet forum: What is expected from reproductive medicine? How are the opportunities and risks to be assessed?

 The German Embryo Protection Act is over 30 years old. In view of medical progress and social change, it can no longer regulate many issues satisfactorily. For this reason, politicians and experts are considering modern legislation on reproductive medicine. In an internet forum open to all, Leopoldina and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung have put the chances and risks of reproductive medicine up for discussion. The aim was to bring the debate to a broader societal public.

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Reproductive medicine offers help for people who are involuntarily childless. Involuntary childlessness is associated with a high potential for suffering for many of those affected. Therefore, reproductive medicine has a fundamentally high positive value. However, in addition to the opportunities, there are also risks that must be taken into account, from a medical as well as an ethical, legal and societal perspective.


The German Embryo Protection Act, which has regulated many issues relevant to reproductive medicine for over 30 years, is now outdated. Both medical progress and social change have led to serious changes that could not have been taken into account in the German Embryo Protection Act more than 30 years ago. For this reason, both experts and politicians are considering revising the legal regulations on reproductive medicine.


The opportunities and risks of reproductive medicine have long been reflected by experts, and the pros and cons are on the table. 


In the debate to date, however, those affected – especially involuntarily childless people, those interested in ethical and socio-political issues, etc. – have not been given their due. For this reason, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation provided an online discussion platform that was public and accessible to all for six weeks. The results of the discussion were then analyzed and summarized in a discussion paper. The aim is to use the results in the political opinion-forming process for contemporary legislation.


Read the whole study "A Public Dialogue on Reproductive Medicine" here as a PDF. The publication is only available in German.



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Dr. Norbert Arnold


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