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Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag

23.02.2011 | Publication

Reproductive Medicine

The TAB report analyzes the national and international frameworks, the technical and scientific progress, and the intended and unintended consequences of assisted reproductive technology.

Reproductive medicine makes options available for responding to a couple’s unfulfilled desire to have children. These include all the treatments and procedures that concern the handling of human oocytes, sperm, or embryos with the goal of bringing about a pregnancy. The procedures are not, in general, unproblematic. They include, in particular, the health risks for women and for the children conceived in this manner, and the psychic stress on the persons involved before, during, and after successful treatment. International comparison shows there are large differences in practice regarding the procedures of technically assisted reproduction, such as which goals are even permitted, which general prerequisites must be present, and to which degree the procedures are employed in medical practice.

The current TAB report number 139:

  • sketches the type, frequency, and causes of fertility disturbances and describes all of the current approaches for reaching a solution that reproductive medicine makes available for bringing about a pregnancy and the birth of a child,
  • reports in detail which health-related consequences and risks as well as forms of psychic stress are associated with treatment in reproductive medicine. It also reports whether they can be alleviated or avoided,
  • analyzes and discusses for the first time in a comprehensive international comparison the effectiveness and the success rates of reproductive medical procedures in clinical practice in the past ten years,
  • considers the possible further development of the legal framework in Germa-ny and provides an overview of the options for action that are available to German politics and of the necessary demand for social clarification.
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