A Life (Un)Worthy of Living

Reproductive Genetics in Israel and Germany

  • Yael Hashiloni-Dolev

Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 34)

About this book


This book presents the findings of a study into the social shaping of reproductive genetics in Germany and Israel, two exceptionally interesting social settings, which share a traumatic history.

Based on a variety of empirical materials (including in-depth interviews with genetic counsellors and survey data on their practices and opinions, as well as analysis of legal, religious, professional and media texts), the study reveals dramatic differences between the way that the German and Israeli societies address the question of a life (un)worthy of living: while in Germany, social, cultural, religious and legal conditions restrict the selection of embryos based on prenatal diagnosis, in Israel they strongly encourage it.

A close comparative analysis of the ways that these two societies handle the delicate balance between the quality and sanctity of life illuminates the controversy around reproductive genetics in an original and provocative way. The study is also innovative in its use of contemporary social theory concerning the politics of life in comprehending the differences between two societies positioned at opposite extremes in their adoption of reproductive genetics. It thus offers an original cross-cultural discussion concerning present-day techno-medical manipulations of life itself.

‘This is a unique and courageous book. Yael Hashiloni-Dolev studied the field of reproductive genetics in Israel and Germany, and found out that while in Germany social, cultural, legal and religious conditions restrict the selection of embryos based on prenatal diagnosis, it is strongly encouraged in Israel. This unexpected finding is brilliantly analyzed by the author. Thus this excellent book must be read and discussed by social scientists, human geneticists, genetic counsellors, bio ethicists and medical students.'

Benno Müller – Hill, Dr. rer. nat. em. Prof. at the Institute of Genetics of the University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.




Adoption Chromosom Embryo Germany Israel New Reproductive Technologies Prenatal Diagnosis diagnosis genetics morality reproductive genetics

Authors and affiliations

  • Yael Hashiloni-Dolev
    • 1
  1. 1.Academic College of Tel-Aviv-YaffoIsrael

Bibliographic information