Since in July 2010 the Federal Court of Justice acquitted a physician specialised in reproductive medicine who had conducted genetic analyses on embryos in the course of an in-vitro fertilisation, there has been a debate in Germany as to whether genetic testing on artificially fertilised embryos should be banned or otherwise regulated. Previously, such pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) had been considered prohibited by the Embryo Protection Act.
The German Ethics Council is currently working on an Opinion on PGD and, in this context, is organising a public hearing with international experts on 16 December 2010 from 1:30 to 5:30 pm. The aim is to get an up-to-date overview of the latest developments in PGD technologies and to hear about experiences in regulating PGD in countries where such technologies are permitted.
Speakers from Belgium, the UK and France will include Paul Devroey from the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at University Hospital Brussels, Emily Jackson from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and Patrick Gaudray from the French National Consultative Ethics Committee for Health and Life Sciences. The experts will report on how PGD is regulated and used in their countries, how the range of applications is decided and what experiences there are with the respective approaches. Luca Gianaroli, Chair of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), will report on current technical and medical developments in the field of embryo testing and analyse their likely impact on the expected demand for and use of such testing in the future.