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The Fertility Show


Germany allows PGD for life-threatening genetic defects

11 July 2011

By Nishat Hyder

Appeared in BioNews 615

The German parliament has passed a new law allowing PGD in limited circumstances.

Under the new law, couples can use PGD to screen embryos only if the parents have a predisposition to a serious genetic illness. All applications for PGD must be pass an ethics panel and couples are required to undergo counselling. The bill outlines an exception to the Embryo Protection Act 1990 that bans PGD, which remains intact.

Those opposing the bill raised fears of creating 'designer babies' , as well as voicing concern over disability rights. 'Parents should not have to apologise if they do not have a so-called perfect baby', said Wolfgang Zöller of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, an affiliate of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). 'Right to life must not be brought into question', he added.

In support of the legislation, Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen said: 'So-called 'designer babies', which would be musically gifted or athletic or have blue eyes, are a fantasy... It's about severe illness of individual cases'. Those in favour argued PGD will prevent numerous medically necessary abortions and still births. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leader of the CDU has expressed her opposition to the legislation.

After a tense, three and a half hour long debate, the results of the free vote in the lower house of the Bundestag showed clear support for the highly controversial bill, with 326 votes (across all parties) in favour, 260 against and eight abstentions.

Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery, head of the German Medical Association, emphasised the strict conditions accompanying PGD. 'There will be no designer babies and also no so-called saviour babies used as spare parts for a sick child', he said to ensure that PGD would not become a routine procedure or method of non-medical sex selection.

The Local | 07 July 2011
Spiegel Online | 07 July 2011
AFP | 07 July 2011
Reuters | 07 July 2011


09 July 2012 - by Sarah Pritchard 
It is now scientifically feasible to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) during IVF to screen embryos for genes associated with high cancer risk, scientists say...
19 August 2011 - by Dr Petra Thorn 
Germany is said to have one of the most restrictive legislation in the area of assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments. In contrast to the UK, both oocyte donation and surrogacy are prohibited by the Embryo Protection Act. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has only become permissible as of July this year – it can now be carried out if the child will be born with a severe genetic disease, or if the embryo is so severely impaired that the pregnancy...
15 August 2011 - by Dr Malcolm Smith 
The Australian state of Victoria was the first common law jurisdiction in the world to enact legislation to regulate assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). Victoria's legislative framework has been updated a number of times and the most recent legislation (the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 (Vic)) came into effect on 1 January 2010...

23 May 2011 - by Nishat Hyder 
The German parliament will debate the country’s law on PGD following the introduction of three separate bills on the issue. Two of the bills allow PGD under certain circumstances, the other calls for a total ban....
15 November 2010 - by Zeynep Gürtin-Broadbent 
The Progress Educational Trust's conference next week will tackle the subject of Cross-border Reproductive Care (CBRC), with a range of UK experts coming together to present the evidence and argue over the ethical conundrums. Although the contested term 'reproductive tourism' has firmly entered public vernacular through the popular media, as yet little is known about this rapidly growing phenomenon...
29 March 2010 - by Professor Donna Dickenson 
'Certain countries in Europe, France in particular, are trying to resist the ultra-liberal individualist ideology of the reproductive market. It's too bad that some other countries have maintained a conspiracy of silence on that subject.' ...
15 March 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
The Australian federal five-year moratorium on the use of gender selection technology in IVF (in vitro fertilisation) treatment for so-called 'social' reasons ends this year, reopening this controversial debate. The Australian health watchdog, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), confirmed that that it will be conducting a review of this issue, beginning within the next few months, after the completion of its ongoing review of the Research Involving Human E...
07 September 2009 - by Caroline Gallup 
I recently attended a consultation meeting hosted by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). A representative from the deaf community put an open question to the assembled group of clinicians, research scientists, counsellors and ART recipients...

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