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IVF in Germany: the conflict of medicine and legislation

Thanks to IVF, the first child was born in 1978 in Britain (Louise Brown, who celebrated her 40th birthday last year, is today the mother of two sons). Four years later, German scientists repeated the successful operation. Today, according to scientists, about 5 million people around the world owe their birth to in vitro fertilization technology. It would seem that here it is – a decision that can make hundreds of thousands of childless couples happy. However, the question of the universality of IVF continues to be controversial, because in the new technology there are still quite a few pitfalls.

The popularity of IVF in developed countries is due to a number of reasons. Among them is the rapid development of this field of medicine. The technology of fertilization is improved every year and is becoming more and more accessible to the population. Thanks to this technology, the chance to become pregnant (and quite high, 60-65%) appears in women with both inborn and acquired reproductive problems due to illness or age.

However, with great care you need to use IVF when it comes to age-related pregnancy. As you know, over time, the quality of eggs changes. For example, a 40-year-old woman is unsuitable for 60% of the eggs, and after 5 years – already 90%. Their use for fertilization can lead to genetic abnormalities in the embryo. Therefore, the process should take place under the vigilant control of specialists in order to avoid such situations.

The situation is not easy with the legal subtleties of the issue. For example, Germany remains the only country in Europe where legislation on reproductive medicine has not yet been developed, although technology itself is considered among the best in the world. Egg donation in this country is prohibited, as is surrogacy, which sometimes forces women to perform this operation abroad. At the same time, donation of embryos in Germany has a legal basis.

It would be useful to mention the ethical side of the issue. Doctors have direct access to the biomaterial, as well as the ability to influence it at the genetic level, even if only theoretically. Will someone’s malicious intent cause the mutilated life of both the child and the parents who have been waiting for him for so long? In addition, it is worth remembering that IVF is a very young technology, all the risks and aspects of which are likely to be discovered.


Igor Konchakovsky

Photo source: pixabay.com

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