About me

Yvonne Frankfurth

Yvonne is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Sociology. She conducts her research under the supervision of Prof Sarah Franklin at the University of Cambridge.

Current Research Project

Egg donations remain prohibited according to the German Embryo Protection Act. It is estimated that because of this prohibition about 5000-6000 German women travel abroad for an egg donation every year.

In her PhD research, Yvonne sheds light on the experiences of women and couples during this reproductive journey abroad. She discusses how an understanding of German ideas of transparency and the perceived need to protect the right of the (unborn) child have informed the ways in which German national legislation regulates gamete donation today.

Such a discussion further lends itself to an analysis of a series of questions, such as: What does it mean for the egg donor conceived child, if it does not have the same rights as the sperm donated child, and in turn, what implications does this have with regards to ideas of anonymity, openness and motherhood?

Find out more about her PhD research.


Yvonne received her B.A. Honours in Politics, Psychology and Sociology and her MPhil degree from the University of Cambridge. In her MPhil dissertation, Yvonne examined the legalisation of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in Germany using qualitative interview data.

Yvonne has completed internships and 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 is interested in disruptive technologies and pursues her interest in digital technologies through the project SympatMe, which she founded in 2014 to help immigrants in Germany deal with bureaucracy.

Visiting Scholar Award Yale University 2019

In 2019 Yvonne received the competitive University of Cambridge ESRC Overseas Institutional Visit Award and the Monica Kornberg Memorial Fund to become a visiting PhD student in the Sociology Department at Yale University. During her academic stay, Yvonne was involved in relevant workshops, events and dinners with scholars from Science and Technology Studies (STS), Law and Social Anthropology, including Prof Sheila Jasanoff (Science and Technology Studies, Harvard University), Prof Daniel Markovitz (Law, Yale University) and Prof Marcia Inhorn (Social Anthropology, Yale University).

During her stay in the US, she was selected to act as a Youth Envoy to the 8th Economic and Social Research Council Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, April 8-9, 2019, where she engaged with government representatives, policymakers and other stakeholders on the relevance of providing access to education about sexual and reproductive health.

Profile: https://sociology.yale.edu/people/yvonne-frankfurth 

Peer-reviewed articles and book chapters

Frankfurth, Y. (2020). Navigating anonymity and 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.

Under review

‘Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Help us Become Pregnant? – Selecting embryos with AI software in fertility treatment’. Publication as part of the project ‘Automatic the Crowds’ by the Cambridge Digital Humanities and the Alan Turing Institute, reviewed on September 1, 2019


Babywunsch, Magazine, 2019, Interview, ‘Leaving the Nation to have a Child – Tracing the journeys of Germans who travel to Austria for egg donation’.

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


To access more information about the study on the German prohibition of egg donation (Eizellspende), please visit www.eispende.com. The website is in German and primarily intended to recruit interviewees, such as German fertility clinicians, experts and intended parents.


Yvonne pursues her social engagement and interest in emerging technologies as founder of the German fertility platform, Es klappt nicht (www.es-klappt-nicht.de). From fertility tracking apps to finding an egg donor, she combines relevant research insights and personal interviews with experts and intended parents to shed light on women’s use of reproductive technologies in Germany.

Keen to learn more about the real-world applications of artificial intelligence, she is a volunteer at Re-Work, where she helps bring together AI-stakeholders from industry and academia to network, exchange knowledge and incite public debate on the use of new technologies (https://www.re-work.co/events/deep-learning-summit-london-2019).


Further links

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Connect on LinkedIn 

Egg Donation Study https://eispende.com/ 

Research website https://es-klappt-nicht.de/