Half a century after the founding of the first sperm bank in the USA and thirty-five years after babies were born to surrogate mothers or via in-vitro fertilization, reproduction technology for so-called "assisted conception" have become part of everyday life in reproduction medicine—depending on the legal situation in a country. On the one hand, this is the response to a need: five to ten percent of all couples in Germany are unable to conceive; the numbers vary depending on age group.
On the other hand, medical reproduction methods pose many questions and raise many problems, creating constant discussion about public regulation as well as new kinds of familial bonds. These include questions about ethical standards in embryonic research and how results from preimplantation genetic diagnosis should be dealt with, as well as the overall question about which arguments may be used to limit parents' preferences and wishes. At the same time, reproductive medicine has increased the variety of family structures and established new relationships between parents and children which lead to shifting notions of what is private.
Katharina Liebsch, 30.06.2014 / firstname.lastname@example.org