Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 339–345 | Cite as

Artificial gametes: perspectives of geneticists, ethicists and representatives of potential users

  • Daniela CutasEmail author
  • Wybo Dondorp
  • Tsjalling Swierstra
  • Sjoerd Repping
  • Guido de Wert
Scientific Contribution


Several threads of research towards developing artificial gametes are ongoing in a number of research labs worldwide. The development of a technology that could generate gametes in vitro has significant potential for human reproduction, and raises a lot of interest, as evidenced by the frequent and extensive media coverage of research in this area. We have asked researchers involved in work with artificial gametes, ethicists, and representatives of potential user groups, how they envisioned the use of artificial gametes in human reproduction. In the course of three focus groups, the participants commented on the various aspects involved. The two recurring themes were the strength of the claim of becoming a parent genetically, and the importance of responsible communication of science. The participants concurred that (a) the desire or need to have genetic offspring of one’s own does not warrant the investment of research resources into these technologies, and that (b) given the minefield in terms of moral controversy and sensitivity that characterises the issues involved, how information is communicated and handled is of great importance.


Artificial gametes Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) Genetic relatedness Infertility ICSI Communication of research 



We are very grateful to all focus group participants for their participation. The work reported in this paper has been made possible by the project “Artificial gametes: science and ethics”, funded by the Centre for Society and the Life Sciences (CSG), Nijmegen, and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), The Hague.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniela Cutas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wybo Dondorp
    • 1
  • Tsjalling Swierstra
    • 3
  • Sjoerd Repping
    • 4
  • Guido de Wert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health, Ethics and SocietyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious StudiesUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Centre for Reproductive MedicineUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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