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We need to address as a society of human genetics

uterus transplant, preserved eggs, genetic testing of embryos and surrogate mothers: The bearing of children is becoming less and less a question of fate, for more varied and complicated. There, is not at all easy. Which of the new methods are useful, what is wrong with that? What should be allowed, what is forbidden to hear?

Andrea Büchler has worked intensively with such questions. The right scientist for three years President of the National ethics Commission in human medicine (NEK), a panel of 15 experts from the fields of theology, philosophy, medicine and law. It prepares opinions and provides advice to the authorities. We meet Büchler in the new "Faculty Lounge" of the Law Institute of the University of Zurich, a kind of teachers ' room with a lot of black leather, chrome steel in the HSM Design and Geometric in picture frames on the walls.

"The developments in Biomedicine are profound," says the 50-Year-old. In fact, there is no shortage of controversial subjects, with ethics inside and ethicists have to deal with. In November, Chinese researchers reported the birth of so-called Crispr-baby, what in the world caused outrage. This was a break – in to the importance comparable with the first artificial fertilization 40 years ago, says Büchler.

A variety of positions and provisional decisions

If the statements of the Chinese research leader's vote, has changed his Team of the embryos genetically and to develop after babies, which can give the manipulated genetic material eventually to their descendants. That would be an intervention in the human germ line, an unheard of taboo. Coincidence or premonition: Büchler published just two days before the announcement of the Crispr-babies a guest post in the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" to this topic. "Sometimes one has the idea of an application-oriented Situation," she writes there, be careful.

It does not fit the style of NEK-President, that she is in conversation primarily with the enormity of the Chinese researchers. Rather, they have analyzed the assessments of the ethics committees in the world in a short period of time moved. "In 2016, were such genetic interventions in the human germ line as a red line that must not be exceeded," she says. "No, three years later, in part, the same bodies, such gene alterations are not close." They were of the opinion that there are legitimate purposes might be, in the germ line to intervene – in particular, for the prevention of genetic diseases. This under the conditions that the still largely unknown risks of irreversible genetic interventions on embryos will be controlled.

artificial insemination has been around for 40 years. Photo: Keystone

"This rapid shift in the debate is impressive," says the scientist. "The research is progressing quickly, and the ethical debate must face the new challenges." That can change the ethical points of view, for Büchler is nothing Unusual: "There are always a variety of positions, and often only provisional decisions." Those who expect moral philosophers and ethicists to provide definitive answers, see, therefore, often disappointed.

buechler is considered to be progressive. Even before she was NEK-President, for example, for the legalization of egg donation and for an open discussion about the surrogacy. "In a liberal order, and of a plural society, one may impose a certain moral Position, the other very reserved, when it is highly personal Affairs", formulated you. Self-determination is a great Good, and its restriction needed strong arguments.

First Grossrätin, then Professor of Law

This attitude is also reflected in the NEK position of the last years – for example, for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis, or for Social Freezing, oocyte cryopreservation. Both should not be banned in the view of the NEK. Important comprehensive Information and advice to expectant however parents, or the women who want fertility preservation. "These new procedures will bring a profit on action options, but also risks and new constraints," says Büchler.

Some observers confused the liberal stance espoused by Büchler and the NEK in General. You will find, in particular, an ethics Commission needs brakes and front aberrations warn and not of the company and of the legislation ahead. The NEK-President replied: "The ethics Commission has the task to accompany the developments in a critical and a review of the arguments."

Not least because of such misunderstandings, the legal researcher is looking for the public discussion: "We must deal as a society with the developments in human genetics and reproductive medicine." However, the reductions and Tensions, the media give her trouble. "Often we struggle in the Commission's positions, some of it remains ambivalent. And the ambivalence you must be able to withstand."

Moving between Zurich, San Francisco and Bangalore

Büchler was born in Ticino and grew up with, what you listen to you just like your years in Basel, where she studied and politically active. From 1995, she represented, in the Canton of Basel-city, the "women's list Basel" in the Great Council. In Parallel, she continued to drive her career as a legal scholar and moved to their first daughter, big. As you received a 33-year-old her professorship at the University of Zurich, she ended her involvement in politics. Addressed of where you stand politically, you, social concerns, human rights and an open and caring society. She is not convinced that this is speaking of their liberal attitude in the case of reproductive medicine.

The NEK-President referred to himself as a border Crosser. It was about moving often on the edges of their own subject and search the confrontation with the Stranger. Not just professionally, privately, you've always been on the road a lot. With her American life partner of Indian origin and her two 7 - and 28-year-old daughters, she moves between Zurich, San Francisco and Bangalore. Büchler: "borders are places of encounter."

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 22.12.2018, 19:40 PM

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