Egg donation, embryo donation, surrogacy: Researchers are calling for new legislation on fertility treatment in Germany.
The own child is for many people the biggest heart’s desire. However, many women and men are dependent on the support of fertility treatment for fulfilling their desire to have children.
According to estimates by experts, among other things ” time ” and ” Deutschlandfunk ” report that every year thousands of pairs of children seeking for help in clinics abroad , where possibilities of fertility treatment are allowed, which are prohibited in this country. These include, for example, the egg donation or surrogacy.
Now German scientists demand a reform of the legal regulations of reproductive medicine in Germany . A working group of the National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) and the Academy Union presented its proposals for a new law on reproductive health in Berlin on 4 June 2019.
The conclusion of the scientists: ” The Embryo Protection Act of 1990 regulates the treatment of reproductive medicine largely unchanged until today, which often forces the treating physician to treatment which is not appropriate for today’s international medical profession and leads to unnecessary risks for mother and child In addition, the Embryo Protection Act no longer meets the social change and diversity of today’s family forms. “
Egg donation, embryo donation, surrogacy, financing – what should change
Among other things, the scientists recommend new legal regulations for egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The researchers are also calling for new regulations for surrogacy and the financing of reproductive medicine. What exactly should change:
1: Reimbursement of costs
Restricting the financing of legally insured couples to married couples as well as narrow age limits is “medically and socially unjustifiable, and the partial reimbursement of the substantial costs of treatment also creates social injustice.” According to the experts medically offered fertility treatments should be fully supported by the community of insured.
2: Fix surrogate motherhood
Especially difficult ethical and legal issues raise “surrogate motherhood prohibited in Germany”. “There is a need for regulation of children born abroad from a surrogate mother but growing up in Germany”. For example, “medical and psychosocial counseling offered and performed in Germany on the problems of surrogacy should not be punishable”.
3: Reduce multiple births
The method “elective single embryo transfer” is prohibited in Germany on punishment. In this case, “out of a larger number of embryos, it is planned to select only the one with the greatest capacity for development and only to transfer this to the woman”. Researchers are in favor of legalizing this method of reducing multiple births and the increased risks of having multiple children during pregnancy.
4: allow egg donation
Sperm donation is allowed in Germany, the egg donation prohibited. The researchers regard this unequal treatment as very critical, and they can hardly be justified: “While infertile men can start a family with the help of a germ cell donation, this is denied to women who can no longer produce their own eggs, for example as a result of cancer.” Due to the legal situation, many couples would be inclined to “use an egg donation abroad”.
5: Clearly regulate embryo donation
The applicable law in Germany “allows in exceptional cases the embryo donation”. However, a clear legal regulation for the donation and the receipt of donated embryos is missing. “In particular, the family law implications require a clear regulation,” said the scientists.
6: Cryopreservation of oocytes
At many reproductive health centers, oocytes are cryopreserved. This happens, for example, for medical reasons, such as before chemotherapy. “In the interests of the woman, the couple and the future child, the conditions for storage, fertilization and transmission should be regulated.”
The scientists hope that their proposals trigger a political discussion between the parties. They write: ” The complexity of the matter is no reason to postpone a new legal regulation “.
The full statement ” Reproductive Medicine in Germany – for a modern legislation ” can be read here.
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