Regulating Germline Editing in Assisted Reproductive Technology: An EU Cross-disciplinary Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Potential applications of genome editing in assisted reproductive technology (ART) raise a vast array of strong opinions, emotional reactions and divergent perceptions. Acknowledging the need for caution and respecting such reactions, we observe that at least some are based on either a misunderstanding of the science or misconceptions about the content and flexibility of the existing legal frameworks. Combining medical, legal and ethical expertise, we present and discuss regulatory responses at the national, European and international levels. The discussion has a EU starting point and is meant as a contribute to the general international regulatory debate. Overall, this paper concludes that gene editing technologies should not be regulated autonomously. Rather, potential uses should be regulated under general, existing frameworks and where applicable by reference to sufficiently equivalent technologies and techniques already subject to specific regulation. To be clear, we do not argue for the hasty introduction of gene editing as a reproductive treatment option in the immediate future. We call for caution with regard to overreaching moratoria and prohibitions which will also affect basic research. We recommend flexible regulations that allow for further responsible research into the potential development of the technology. We call for an open and inclusive debate and argue that scientific communication should claim a more prominent role to counter the danger of widespread misinformation. A high level of transparency and accuracy should guide scientific communication while simultaneously global-scale responsibility and governance should be fostered by promoting cross-disciplinary thinking and multi-level stakeholder involvement in legal and regulatory processes.


  • Ana Nordberg
  • Timo Minssen
  • Oliver Feeney
  • Inigo de Miguel Beiren
  • Lucia Galvani
  • Kirmo Wartiovaara
External organisations
  • National University of Ireland Galway
  • University of the Basque Country
  • Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK)
  • Helsinki University Central Hospital
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • Assisted Reproduction Technology, Gene editing, Germ line modifications, Civil law
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec
Publication categoryResearch