Press Release 08/2010

The German Ethics Council is preparing an Opinion on preimplantation genetic diagnosis

In the context of its consideration of reproductive medicine the German Ethics Council is to prepare an Opinion on the subject of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which is expected to be issued by the summer of 2011. This was decided at the Plenary Meeting held in Berlin yesterday (Thursday).

The Ethics Council had already included reproductive medicine in its programme for 2010 when its agenda for that year was drawn up in November 2009. The process was launched in July 2010 with keynote papers by Council members Jochen Taupitz and Regine Kollek on legal and medical aspects of recent developments in the field of reproductive medicine. An internal Council working group commenced work shortly afterwards in August. The group’s spokesperson is Wolf-Michael Catenhusen.

A variety of future regulatory issues are raised by advances in technology and by recent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (April), Rostock Higher Regional Court (May) and Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (July).

It was the decision of the Federal Court of Justice, which ruled that preimplantation genetic diagnosis for the detection of severe genetic damage in an extracorporeally created embryo is not subject to penal sanctions, that persuaded the German Ethics Council to concentrate initially on preimplantation genetic diagnosis.