IDEM - Informations- und Dokumentationsstelle Ethik in der Medizin
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10. - 14. Juli 2017, Tübingen

"Desire to have children and genome-editing: Ethical, legal and social aspects of genome-editing in in-vitro fertilization"

Research Retreat for PhD students and Early Career Researchers organised by Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tübingen University supported by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

New methods for genome-editing (CRISPR/Cas) are more efficient than those previously known. They could be applied in the prevention and therapy of diseases. However, several scientists called for moratoria on interventions in the germ line.

In the United Kingdom, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has granted researchers permission to use genome-editing for research purposes in human embryos. The improvement of success rates of assisted reproduction is one of the possible outcomes that are discussed in relation to this research.

Unfulfilled desire for children is acknowledged to cause suffering and assisted reproduction is widely accepted as a treatment. Research which can increase the success rates of in-vitro fertilization is likely to be very welcome. Due to the application of the new methods in the context of assisted reproduction, it is necessary to consider the benefits and risks of IVF and genome-editing together.

The aim of the retreat is an international and comparative perspective with a focus on Germany and the United Kingdom, two countries which differ in terms of the regulation of genome-editing in the context of IVF. The retreat analyses the new methods of genome-editing in the context of IVF from ethical, legal and social perspectives - focuses on the comparison between Germany and the United Kingdom - fosters interdisciplinary exchange - experiments with new methods for scientific collaboration - supports participants in publishing the papers developed for the retreat.

We are looking for PhD students and Early Career Researchers - researching genome-editing and/or assisted reproduction - working in one or more of the following fields: life sciences, medicine, ethics, social sciences, law - based in Germany or the United Kingdom - willing to prepare a paper & to discuss it with participants and experts - open to try out new formats for scientific collaboration (forum theatre workshop) - interested in an international perspective focusing on Germany and the United Kingdom - looking forward to spending a week discussing ethical, social and legal aspects of genome-editing and in-vitro fertilisation.

Possible research topics e.g. status of the embryo, the danger of a slippery slope, distinction between research, therapy and prevention ... different legal frameworks, development of legislation over time, intended and unintended interventions in the germ line ... social change, new relations between parents and children, technology acceptance, technology assessment, public understanding of science, science studies ... Additional information:

Language: English

Location: Tübingen University

Costs: Travel expenses will be refunded, accommodation is free Application procedure Send an abstract (max. 500 words) for a paper you would like to present at the retreat together with a short curriculum vitae to selma.kadi(at)  and zoe.rheinsberg(at)  until 13. April 2017.

After consultation by a team of experts, up to 14 participants will receive invitations.

Invited participants are asked to submit the manuscripts of their papers until 13th of April 2017. The manuscripts will be distributed to all participants in advance for preparation of the research retreat Contact Dr. phil. Selma Kadi selma.kadi(at)  and Dr. med. Zoé Rheinsberg zoe.rheinsberg(at)