Stem cell research – new challenges for the ban on cloning and treatment of artificially created germ cells?

Published: 15 September 2014

New developments in stem cell research make it possible to create artifical gamtes and embryos. In its Ad hoc Recommendation the German Ethics Council examines to what extent such constructs are covered by German law and which ethical and legal challenges arise from these new technologies. Aside from considering how recent scientific advancements raise at least the technical plausibility of human reproductive cloning, the recommendation focuses on the possible implications of generating sperm and eggs from reprogrammed body cells. It is conceivable that such a technology might in the future be used for human reproduction, including in cases where sexual reproduction is not normally possible. For example, homosexual couples could try to use it to have children who are genetically related to both parents and even the generation of an embryo from male and female gametes that have been created from the body cells of a single individual might become possible.