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National Recommendations

Reproductive medicine in Germany – towards an updated legal framework (2019)

Summary of statement

Published by German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and Union of the German Academies of Sciences

(2019, 20 pages, ISBN: 978-3-8047-3424-1)

For many people, having children and starting a family is one of life’s essential experiences and is a fundamental condition for shaping the future of society. Assisted reproduction has been available for several decades. Since Germany’s Embryo Protection Act was passed in 1990, assisted reproduction has developed at a rapid pace worldwide and provided new diagnostic and therapeutic measures to aid fertility. The health of all those involved, in particular the children, must always lie at the heart of these treatments. Thanks to high-quality medical and social science studies, reliable empirical statements concerning the effectiveness and tolerability of these technologies can now be made in many areas.

Social concepts of marriage and family have also changed over the last 25 years. In addition, the rights and welfare of children are given greater consideration nowadays. As a result of all this, the legal regulation of reproductive medicine—at the centre of which is still the Embryo Protection Act—is currently incomplete, creates legal uncertainty, contains contradictory values and is partly considered unjust or even harmful to the well-being of children.

Many of these developments could not have been predicted at the end of the 1980s. It is therefore all the more important to have new and comprehensive regulation of the requirements, processes and consequences of reproductive medicine, regulations that offer those involved the best possible and least invasive treatment, and gives due consideration to the rights of all parties, including the future children. The complexity of the material is no reason to further postpone new legal regulations.


Elmar König

Head of Department Science – Policy – Society, Head of Berlin Office

Phone 030 203 8997 - 865
E-Mail elmar.koenig (at)leopoldina.org