Making families through assisted reproductive technologies: Causes, experiences, and consequences in international context

February 28, 2019

Local Organizers:

Anne-Kristin Kuhnt (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany) &
Jasmin Passet-Wittig (Federal Institute for Population Research, Wiesbaden, Germany)
Keynote “The creation of 'world families' via cross-border fertility treatment”
by Nicky Hudson
(Director of the Centre for Reproduction Research, De Montfort University Leicester)


The birth of the first baby after In-Vitro-Fertilisation (IVF) in Great Britain in 1978 transformed public awareness of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). ART helps people who have medical or social barriers to having children. Advances and diversification in ART and broader social, demographic, and economic changes in industrialized countries contributed to an increasing use of ART. Today, doctors in Europe perform approximately 690,000 treatment cycles contributing to about 150,000 babies born with medical help. The uses of ART moved beyond ‘curing’ a medical problem to providing donor material (oocytes, embryo’s, sperm), surrogacy, and social freezing to extend the scope of (potential) users from heterosexual couples to gay and lesbian couples to single persons. The ART initiated technological and social changes, which now challenge conventional definitions and understandings of family.

There is great need to understand the rapid changes associated with increasing demand and use of ART. ART occurs in stages such as recognizing fertility barriers, exploring medical responses, seeking medical responses, conceiving and delivering a child (or not) with medical help. To advance understanding of the implications of ART in international comparative contexts, we will host scholars from different countries and disciplines to share and discuss research on the following topics:

  • complex decision-making for use of ART
  • diversity in policies and legislation that shape ART use and outcomes
  • infertility and treatment experiences
  • use of ART and consequences for families (children, parents, siblings, grandparents)
  • ART and demographic change
  • understanding of the role of ART in life courses (timing of fertility)

To stimulate exchange and collaboration of social science researchers with an interest in infertility and ART we plan to have “lightning rounds” in which researchers have 3 minutes to present/‘pitch’ for new projects and research ideas.
Furthermore, we aim to compile a Special Issue based on the contributions of this conference. Therefore, we especially welcome the submission of new work in progress.
The conference venue is the city of Wiesbaden (Germany), located near the Rhine-Valley, one of the biggest German wine growing areas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, quickly accessible by train from Frankfurt International Airport.
There is no conference fee. In addition, a limited number of travel grants may be available to cover part of the travel costs for participants. The decision for travel funding by the German Research Council (DFG) is currently pending.
We invite the submission of abstracts (up to 500 words) by February 28, 2019. Submitted abstracts should include

  • the research question & theoretical background;
  • a description of methods & data;
  • main findings;
  • the degree of interest in including a paper in a special issue;
  • contact information for all authors.

Email abstracts to Anne-Kristin Kuhnt (anne-kristin.kuhnt [at] and Jasmin Passet-Wittig (jasmin_passet [at] Authors will be informed whether their paper has been accepted by March 29, 2019.