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Cambridge Reproduction


Yvonne is a Postgraduate Student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, currently completing her stay as a Visiting Assistant in Research at Yale University (2019). Part of the interdisciplinary Reproductive Sociology Research Group under the supervision of Professor Sarah Franklin (Deputy Chair) since 2015, she examines the social, legal and ethical aspects of new assisted reproductive technologies in Germany.

Key Interests

Emerging technology policy-making, ethics, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (‘designer baby technology’), Germany, (in)fertility apps, early menopause, cross-border reproductive care, egg donation, German (divided) motherhood; ethnographic fieldwork, digital and mixed methods drawing on language skills in English, German, French and Chinese.

Current Research Project

In her PhD thesis, Yvonne explores the German Embryo Protection Act. This legal framework was established in 1990 and remains the basis for how reproductive technologies are regulated in Germany today. Its regulation is relatively strict in comparison to other European countries; egg donation and surrogacy are prohibited and access to preimplantation genetic diagnosis is tightly limited. To circumvent these national laws, there is an increasing number of Germans travelling abroad to access these fertility treatments elsewhere, particularly in Spain and the Czech Republic, but also in countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland and the UK.

Drawing on about 100 interviews with German fertility experts, policy-makers and reproductive travelers, I examine the social and ethical implications of the Embryo Protection Act, specifically with regard to the legal prohibition of egg donation.


Yvonne received her B.A. Honours degree in Politics, Psychology and Sociology (First-Class) and her MPhil degree from the University of Cambridge. In her MPhil dissertation, Yvonne examined the legalisation of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (also referred to as the ‘designer-baby technology’) in Germany, drawing on explorative in-depth interviews with German policy-makers, fertility clinicians and lawyers.

Yvonne has completed internships and/or traineeships at the European Parliament in Brussels, the Sociological Institute of the German Armed Forces in Strausberg, the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation in Beijing and BMW Herbert-Quandt Foundation in Berlin. She pursues her interest in digital technologies as the founder of the online start-up projects and

Key Publications

Frankfurth, Y. (forthcoming in 2019). Anonymity or openness?  – Germans travelling abroad for egg donation In Beier, K., Brügge, C., Thorn, P., and Wiesemann, C. (eds.), Familienbildung mit Hilfe Dritter [Making Families with Assisted Reproductive Technologies]. Springer-Verlag (Medizin).

Frankfurth, Y. (2017). Mothers, Morality and Abortion: The Politics of Reproduction in the Formation of the German Nation. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 18(3), 51-65.


ARD Plus-Minus, German Public Broadcasting, Interview, “Research Study on the German Prohibition of egg donations” (Eizellenspende, Beweggründe und Erfahrungen“), August 23, 2017, available online here

Radio 1, Interview, German public broadcasting programme on Germany’s first fertility show, February 21, 2017,  available online here

Further links

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Egg Donation Study 

Research website