WEST BERLIN—Two scientific societies here have announced their opposition to proposed federal legislation that would contain criminal penalties for scientists engaged in most types of work involving in vitro fertilization.

The German Research Society (DFG) and the Max Planck Society (MPG) have warned that "embryo experimentation in the Federal Republic would come to an end if the creation of embryos for research purposes is prohibited unconditionally." Tight constraints, the DFG said, would inhibit development in an area where "possible positive effects on humans, though not guaranteed as of today, are to be expected." The DFG is a major funding agency for German academic scientists, and the MPG oversees the 40 Max Planck Institutes throughout the country.

The societies believe that the legislation, proposed by Justice Minister Hans Engeihard, would conflict with the freedom of research provided for in the constitution, place a ceiling on the knowledge that could be gained...

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