Reproductive Technologies and Family Ties

Course content

Reproductive technologies such as for example various forms of IVF (sperm donation, egg donation, mitochondrial donation, IVF-with-ROPA, surrogacy, etc.) are increasingly enabling access to biological parenthood to those who were previously excluded, especially discriminated minorities.

This course aims to introduce students to the many different and evolving types of reproductive technologies available and to the ethical and philosophical issues that arise from our growing usage of and reliance on reproductive technologies. We will have a special focus on how reproductive technologies are changing families and also on what we can learn through analysis and discussion of new ways of reproducing about the nature and value of family ties.


MSc in Public Health Science - elective course

MSc in Health Informatics - elective course

MSc in Human Biology - elective course

MSc in Global Health - elective course

MSc in Health Science - elective course

The course will also be open to PhD students. PhD student should apply as external students in order to obtain a slot in the course:


Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to:


  • Describe different forms and practices around reproductive technologies
  • Describe the difference between biological parenthood and non-biological parenthood in all its complex aspects
  • Understand the impact of reproductive technologies on society and families with particular reference to issues of equality and minorities
  • Describe the impact of specific issues relating to reproduction, including political, ethical and research issues
  • Understand finer distinctions within this debate such as for example the one between genetic biological parenthood and gestational biological parenthood


  • Critical analysis of the most important ethical and philosophical arguments relating to reproductive choices, reproductive technologies and family ties
  • Critical analysis and assessment of how theoretical concepts, principles and theories within ethics and philosophy apply to real life cases
  • Assess diverse healthcare systems and their different approaches to reproductive choices and reproductive technologies (for example, Denmark as opposed to Sweden)


  • Translate theoretical knowledge and principles on the ethics of reproduction into social and political solutions
  • Communicate the relevance of reproductive choices and technologies in public health contexts and also wider social and political contexts

Class work will include student presentations, group work and plenum discussion of readings, with short lectures by the course leader.

Literature will be provided in due time through the usual channels: it is a mix of background readings in bioethics and new research articles on reproductive technologies and family ties. 

This course can be of interest for MA students within the humanities and law. Interested students should apply for enrollment as credit transfer students, please see deatils in 'Sign-up'.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min
Type of assessment details
Each student will do an oral exam of up to 30 minutes after the end of the course
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Two internal assessors
Exam period

Please see the exam schedule in KUnet

Criteria for exam assessment

Students will be assessed according to the learning goals of the course:

To achieve the grade 12, the student must be able to:


  • Identify and describe different forms of reproductive technologies and the most important ethical and philosophical issues relating to those
  • Identify and describe different family ties both biological and non-biological in all their empirical and non-empirical complexities
  • Understand the impact of social influences on reproductive choices and the use of reproductive technologies  


  • Critically analyze and assess the most important ethical and philosophical arguments relating to reproductive choices, reproductive technologies and family ties
  • Critically analyze and assess how theoretical concepts, principles and theories within ethics and philosophy apply to real life cases, examples and case studies


  • Translate ethical and philosophical theoretical knowledge and principles into potential policy interventions relating to reproductive technologies
  • Communicate the relevance of reproductive technologies and family ties within wider social and political contexts.


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 10
  • Exam
  • 225
  • English
  • 275


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Please see the schedule in Syllabus.
The Study Board for Public Health Science and Global Health
Contracting department
  • Department of Public Health
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Ezio Di Nucci   (4-697e6d734477797268326f7932686f)
Saved on the 12-07-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students