PreGGI - Meanings and Practices of Prenatal Genetics in Germany and Israel

A comparative, interdisciplinary study

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) 2017-2020

New developments in the field of prenatal genetics – especially the introduction of non-invasive blood tests, for example for chromosomal variations such as trisomy 21, 18 and 13, as well as the possibility of sequencing – actually transform the morally highly complex practice of prenatal diagnosis. They bring far reaching and variegated changes, which we are beginning to understand. Whereas common invasive tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling may cause miscarriage, this risk does not apply to non-invasive testing, which relies solely on a test of the mother’s blood. However, for many people it can be difficult to grasp the meaning of the increased amount of genetic data provided by such tests. Under these circumstances, what is the basis for decision-making about testing the next generation? The introduction of this new technology touches upon fundamental questions concerning our philosophical and social understanding of pregnancy, life, and intergenerational relationships.

Germany and Israel – both at the cutting edge of Western medical technology – in certain respects represent opposing poles of professional cultures, regulations and policies regarding reproductive medicine. Hence, the comparison between these two countries will highlight national similarities, variation and pluralism in the moral assessment of biomedicine. At the same time, this comparative study has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of the culturally specific views in these two countries and beyond.

The aim of the project is to grasp the interrelatedness of social and technological change in the field of prenatal genetic diagnosis, to elucidate its cultural and theoretical background, and to assess and analyse its current and possibly future meaning for both individuals and society in general. The project investigates the views of (non-)users of these tests and re-examines ethical evaluations of and legal regulations for prenatal diagnosis. It is also about a philosophical understanding of what the different opinions, attitudes, practices or regulations presuppose in terms of concepts or previous understandings. This includes, for example, the question of the human condition, of not-knowing or responsibility.

It thus combines three interrelated approaches: a comparative empirical study on the basis of about 50 qualitative interviews in each of the two countries, a philosophical and theoretical examination, and a future-oriented perspective in the shape of an Israeli-German social-philosophical platform on biomedical technologies, epistemic discourses, and body politics.

Christina Schües (Universität of Lübeck)
Christoph Rehmann-Sutter (Universität of Lübeck)
Aviad Raz (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva)

Stefan Reinsch (Universität of Lübeck)
Hannes Foth
(Universität of Lübeck)
Yael Hashiloni-Dolev (
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva)
Tamar Nov Klaiman (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva)

Collaborating associate:
Anika König (University of Lucerne)

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Flyer for the finished interview study:


IMGWF Universität zu Lübeck - Königstrasse 42 - 23552 Lübeck - Fon +49 (0)451 3101 3401 - Fax +49 (0)451 3101 3404 -


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