Author(s): Meister U
BACKGROUND: Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a technique which is often related to emotional debates because of its ethical and social implications. Worldwide there are different forms of legislation; Germany constitutes an interesting case because of the historical background concerning eugenics and dealing with handicapped persons at the time of national socialism. PGD is currently not legal but there are still polarized positions and legalization remains an issue. Studies about the attitudes of the general population towards PGD are rare. METHODS: Data were collected in a representative survey carried out in November 2003. Subjects were 2110 persons in Germany aged 18-50 years. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Respondents had little knowledge about PGD. There were incorrect assumptions about the diagnostic possibilities and a lack of basic genetic knowledge. A tendency towards a general acceptance of PGD for medical indications was found. Non-medical indications such as sex selection were generally not accepted. It could be observed that respondents who already had a notion about PGD overestimated the diagnostic possibilities and would eventually use PGD in the future more than respondents who had never heard about PGD before.