Bioethics Forum

Egg Donation Abroad and the Consequences of this Practice in Germany

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Leibniz-Saal, Markgrafenstraße 38, 10117 Berlin

Podiumsdiskussion (v.l.): Prof. Dr. Michi Knecht, Prof. Dr. Claudia Wiesemann, Prof. Dr. Andreas Lob-Hüdepohl, Dr. Susanne Lettow und Dr. Birgit Mayer-Lewis, Deutscher Ethikrat, Fotograf: Reiner Zensen


Repeatedly, couples turn to clinics abroad to fulfil their desire for children with the help of reproductive technologies that are prohibited in Germany. These include in particular (anonymous) egg cell donation. The Bioethics Forum of the German Ethics Council focuses on the problems that arise from “reproductive travel” for the child, the couple, the donor, for physicians and counselling specialists. 

Couples with a desire to have children often travel to countries where the egg donors are anonymous. The children conceived by this method are denied the right to know their own origins. Although parents can inform their children about the circumstances of  their birth, the burden of anonymity remains, which is highly problematic from a psychosocial point of view.

The event aims to shed light on the problem and the motives, expectations and level of knowledge of couples who wish to have children. The debate focuses on the respective family constellations and the different attitudes towards anonymity in different countries, the situation of the donors and the psychosocial consequences for couples and children.

Together with experts from ethnology, education, philosophy and law the German Ethics Council discusses the ethical challenges of family constellations resulting from egg donation abroad in Germany and the possibilities for improving the situation of families within the given legal framework.