Reproductive medicine

The Swiss Reproductive Medicine Act governs the conditions under which medically assisted human reproduction is permissible in Switzerland. The Act declares the welfare of the child to be its primary principle, and requires every couple seeking treatment to undergo a comprehensive counselling process.

The fertilization of an egg outside the female body is used extensively to bring about pregnancy. No more than three embryos may be produced per treatment cycle in order to prevent large-scale multiple pregnancies and the creation of surplus embryos. Data on the sperm donor are held at the Federal Civil Registry Office and must be made available to children conceived using this process.

The practice of medically assisted reproductive techniques requires a licence, as does the conservation of gametes and fertilized ova. Persons holding a licence are subject to a reporting obligation and the cantons must also maintain constant supervision over their activities.

The law prohibits the keeping of embryos, egg donation, surrogacy and the genetic testing of embryos in the laboratory (pre-implantation diagnostics). The improper collection of embryos and their development outside the female body beyond the time at which they can become attached to the uterus lining, as well as germ gene therapy (intervention to alter the genetic composition of gamete and embryos) and cloning are also punishable.

A National Ethics Commission, appointed by the Federal Council, monitors scientific developments in the field of human medicine and draws up recommendations for medical practice. The commission exists in a purely advisory capacity. Its secretariat is attached to the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health.


For the complete documentation see the pages in German, French or Italian.


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Last modification 04.12.2000

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