Journal article

Tracy L. Wilson (2017)

Unravelling orders in a borderless Europe? Cross-border reproductive care and the paradoxes of assisted reproductive technology policy in Germany and Poland

Journal Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online
Short title of the journal RBMS
Number/Volume 3 (2016, special issue)
Page references 48-59

ISSN: 2405-6618

This article examines assisted reproduction policy and practices in Germany and Poland. Germany is among the most restrictive countries in the European Union (EU) with respect to assisted reproductive technologies. In contrast, Poland only recently passed legislation regulating assisted reproductive technologies. Before this, most practices were unregulated, despite vocal opposition to all forms of IVF from conservative Roman Catholic activists. Germany and Poland differ significantly regarding the cultural narratives and historical experience that impact attitudes toward reproduction. In Germany, discussions on assisted reproduction often invoke concerns about medical intervention in ethically complex matters, due – in part – to the country's National Socialist past. My objectives in this article centre on examining assisted reproduction contexts in each of these two countries, with attention to the framing of debates on reproduction, the anxieties that inform them, and the resulting paradoxes. I consider the unintended consequences of domestic policy and their importance regarding cross-border reproductive care (CBRC). Within the borderless EU, the widespread practice of CBRC demonstrates the ineffectiveness of national policies. Moreover, this shift in location can impact practices and trends found in other accessible, but less restrictive countries. Of particular concern are the relocation of risk to 'bioavailable' populations in less affluent countries and the reification of cultural and socio-economic hierarchies.

Keywords: bioavailability, cross-border reproductive care, European Union, Germany, national policy, Poland

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