Ethics in the Life Sciences – Expert reports by the DRZE; Volume 10
Medizinisch-naturwissenschaftliche, rechtliche und ethische Aspekte
Verena Steinke / Nils Rahner / Annette Middel / Angela Schräer
Published by the DRZE – German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences under the responsibility of Dieter Sturma, Dirk Lanzerath and Bert Heinrichs
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is a technique used for genetic testing of embryos conceived by artificial fertilisation, prior to their transfer to the uterus. It can be aimed at identifying indicators for genetic diseases or the embryo’s sex. In some cases, the testing is also used to determine whether an embryo could serve as cell donor to a diseased sibling. From an ethical perspective, the difficulty lies in assessing whether such diagnostic selection constitutes a violation of the embryo’s dignity.
The debate over the past years has, however, shown that a justifiable assessment of preimplantation genetic diagnosis is only possible if the entire context is taken into consideration. When discussing preimplantation genetic diagnosis, one must particularly take account of the fact that it is now established medical practice in Germany to consider abortion in cases of pathological findings in prenatal diagnosis.
The present expert report first of all depicts the medical and scientific basis of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, in order to provide a factual framework for normative analysis. The second chapter is devoted to legal aspects and outlines the current situation in Germany, focusing on the Embryo Protection Act and the difficulties that exist with regard to its legal interpretation, but also on constitutional aspects. The third chapter finally explores the intense ethical debate that has taken place over the past years.
Publisher: Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg
Year of publication: 2009
Price: € 15,- (paperback)
Pages: 168, German (13,9 x 21,4 cm)