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Hillgruber, C. Der manipulierbare Embryo. Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics, 28(1), 39-52.
Hillgruber, Christian "Der manipulierbare Embryo" Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics 28.1, 2020, 39-52.
Hillgruber, Christian (2020): Der manipulierbare Embryo, in: Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics, vol. 28, iss. 1, 39-52, [online]


Der manipulierbare Embryo

Hillgruber, Christian

Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik / Annual Review of Law and Ethics, Vol. 28 (2020), Iss. 1 : pp. 39–52

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Article Details


Author Details

Hillgruber, Christian, Prof. Dr., Institut für Kirchenrecht, Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaft, Universität Bonn, Adenauerallee 24–42, D-53113 Bonn


The guarantee of human dignity (article 1 paragraph 1 German Basic Law) requires the protection of the embryo’s identity and – in accordance with further requirements of article 2 paragraph 2 sentence 1 German Basic Law – the protection of its physical integrity.

Every human being has, even in his earliest, prenatal stage of development, an unconditional right to be and remain a human being, derived from his dignity. In order to protect his right to species-specific development, the embryo must also be protected from any dehumanization. This categorically excludes any mixing of its genetic material with animal genetic material.

The self-purpose of the human being, already embedded in the embryo, makes it impossible to create it artificially for any other reason than to induce a pregnancy. It cannot simply be attributed by a third party to another purpose with a normative effect that negates its self-serving-functionality.

If the human development potential of the embryo is reduced or destroyed by manipulation, this constitutes an impairment of its right to life (article 2 paragraph 2 sentence 1 1st alternative of the Basic Law), which can be justified neither by research interests nor by therapeutic long-term goals and which must be prohibited by the state in fulfillment of its duty to protect.

In addition, the state must create a normative environment conducive to the developmental potential of the embryo. All human embryos, regardless of how they were created, are human beings who have a right to be given the legally secured chance to be born. To this end, embryo donation and surrogate motherhood, for example, must be legally permitted.

All manipulative interventions from the outside into the fertilized human egg cell from the time of the nuclear fusion on, which do not already destroy life or development chances, are to be measured against the basic right of physical integrity (article 2 paragraph 2 sentence 1 2nd alternative of the Basic Law). Only life-supporting interventions or interventions beneficial to the health of the embryo are eligible for consent, and even these only to the extent that risks associated with them can be justified.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Christian Hillgruber: Der manipulierbare Embryo 39
I. Die grundlegende Bedeutung der Menschenwürdegarantie (Art. 1 Abs. 1 GG) 39
II. Identitätsschutz 40
III. Integritätsschutz 41
1. Schutz vor Beeinträchtigung unabhängig von Handlungsfähigkeit 41
2. Das Lebensrecht: Die Pflicht des Staates zu Schutz und Entwicklungsförderung 42
a) Schutzpflicht 42
b) Förderungspflicht („Entwicklungshilfe“) 42
aa) Kryokonservierung – kein Dauerzustand 43
bb) Die Notwendigkeit der Zulassung von Embryospende und Ersatzmutterschaft 43
cc) Sterbenlassen 44
dd) Die rechtliche Sicherung der Einpflanzung des Embryos in vitro 44
ee) Das Verbot verbrauchender Embryonenforschung 45
3. Das Recht auf körperliche Integrität 45
a) Rechtfertigungsfähigkeit nur von therapeutischen Zielen dienenden Eingriffen 45
b) Die Problematik von Eingriffen in die Keimbahn 46
IV. Vorverlagerung bzw. Ausdehnung des Schutzes 47
1. Das Vorkernstadium 47
2. Erzeugung totipotenter Stadien durch Reprogrammierung 39
3. Beobachtungs- und Nachbesserungspflicht des Gesetzgebers 39
Summary 39