“No right to have a child”

The pregnancy of a 64-year-old woman from Aschaffenburg after an egg donation meets with rejection from medical experts and the Child Protection League as well as from the Catholic Church. The auxiliary bishop of Augsburg Dr. Anton Losinger is a member of the National Ehtics Council and explains in an interview with this site why the Catholic Church takes a critical view of the Aschaffenburg case – even if the child that has now been born is a gift from God and deserves all protection.

One must integrate oneself with a desire for children into a "reasonable structure," says Losinger. Because the obligations and responsibilities of family and parenthood only begin when the care of this child is necessary. There is more at stake here than just genetic material passing from a father and mother to a child. What is important, Losinger said, is "living together, the family, being there for a child for a long unmanageable distance". This is a "classic case of the limits of biomedicine". The consequences of this medical act must be considered, up to the commercial use of egg donations of the woman, which is not medically unproblematic. It puts prere on women in the Third World. Artificial insemination is also ethically not unproblematic, since as a rule more embryos are created than are finally inserted into the woman's uterus. Losinger, however, sees no chance at the legal level to prevent such old-age pregnancies. The ethical problems would become international and could then no longer be controlled. Instead of the law, he relies on the "medical ethos" and the parents' sense of responsibility.

Hope for individual fathers The federal managing director of the child protection association, Paula Honkanen Schoberth, said on Monday, it hopes that the Aschaffenburger case will remain an individual case. "We expressly warn against doing everything that is medically possible," she said. It is precisely for the good of the child that it must be examined very carefully when it makes sense to "interfere with nature". Similar criticism came from the Federal Association of Reproductive Medicine Centers (BRZ) of Germany and the Bavarian Family Minister Christa Stewens (CSU).Honkanen-Schoberth warned that the individual desire for happiness would become a "self-evident medical task". In this case, the mother is almost 80 years old when her daughter reaches puberty. In such an "out-of-the-norm" case, the child faces an "unbelievable challenge," also because of possible teasing. Honkanen-Schoberth, however, also spoke of a "very big challenge" for parents. They would have to face the prere to keep up mentally and physically with the development of their daughter.

Physicians against the sale of oocytes In connection with the pregnancy of a 64-year-old woman from Aschaffenburg, the Augsburg transplant physician Eckhard Nagel, who is a member of the National Ethics Council, also advocates a ban on the trade in eggs. He was in favor of a strict ban on the purchasability of egg cells. No business should be done with the plight of people, he told the "Augsburger Allgemeine" newspaper. He considers it appropriate to donate eggs only under special conditions.BRZ chairman Hilland echoed the criticism. Pregnancy at this age is not in the best interests of the child. A child should have the possibility to reach adulthood with the company of its parents.The Bavarian family minister, Christa Stewens (CSU), said it was difficult for children to grow up with very old parents. "I don't want to judge this morally, but nature has already thought of something that you can't have children after a certain age," the CSU politician argued. Young parents give children more room to move, she said. In addition, children need parents and grandparents. Against this background, she also believes it is right that egg cell donation is banned in Germany.BRZ chairwoman Hilland, on the other hand, pleaded for egg donation to be permitted in Germany in addition to sperm donation. Clear framework conditions would have to be created for this. He added that this then also includes the fact that the children conceived in this way can learn something about their parentage.The chairwoman of the human reproductive biology working group, Ines Hoppe, does not expect the law on embryo protection to be amended in the foreseeable future. Women must continue to travel abroad in order to obtain an egg donation. It is difficult to estimate how many women take advantage of this option. According to her, clinics in Romania, Russia and Spain, for example, are courting German patients. "If a woman has a baby at such an extreme age, a stable mother-child relationship can hardly develop," Hoppe warned.Martina Flath of the Federal association of German psychologists contradicted this representation. "Older parents do not necessarily mean that the child is preprogrammed to develop incorrectly," she said. "After all, there are already many old fathers in Germany. If the environment does not constantly tease the child, it can develop well."On Thursday, a 64-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy daughter by Caesarean section at the private Aschaffenburg Women's Clinic. According to the gynecologist treating her, the woman had received an egg donation abroad. The eggs came from a 25-year-old woman. These cells were then fertilized with the sperm of her 64-year-old husband…

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