Reproductive Autonomy as Family Autonomy? On Family and Trust in Reproductive Medicine

Project leader: Prof. Claudia Wiesemann, Inst. of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University Medical Center Goettingen
Research Fellows: Dr. Katharina Beier; Rico Krieger, B.A.; Katharina Lüttich, M.A.


The subproject is dedicated to the family as a subject of collective autonomy and as a prototype of trust-based social groups, using the example of reproductive medicine. In this context the following questions are explored: Should the moral status of the child be defined in terms of trust implying a revision of the prevailing paradigm that tends to capture the child's relations towards others exclusively in terms of (limited) autonomy? With regard to controversial practices in modern reproductive medicine (e.g. surrogacy) we ask if and how ‘reproductive autonomy’ can be conceived as ‘family autonomy’? In addition to a fundamental discussion of the concept of ‘reproductive autonomy’, the project is also clarifying, from an ethical point of view, the interdependence of a potential concept of family autonomy and the trust-building capacity of the family in modern society as a whole.