Many people who wish to become parents, but for some reason can not conceive a child, take advantage of the achievements of modern reproductive medicine, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), for instance.
According to the Federal Statistics Service, during the 2000s the number of women undergoing infertility treatment in Switzerland increased. The maximum was achieved in 2010. Currently, about one in fifty children in Switzerland is born as a result of artificial insemination, which indicates the popularity of this procedure in people who wish to become parents. Since reproductive medicine is a rather complex subject from the ethical point of view, it is worth considering what kinds of procedures related to the desire to have a child are possible in Switzerland and which are not.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination is artificial insemination with the partner’s sperm. This procedure is allowed throughout Europe.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – the fertilization of the egg cell that takes place not in the mother’s body, but in a test tube (vitro = test tube, glass). The method is allowed throughout Europe, and Switzerland is no exception.
Preimplantation diagnostics (PID)
Since September 2017, some types of preimplantation diagnostics have been legalized in Switzerland. Thus, embryos produced in vitro can be examined for hereditary diseases before their implantation into the uterus.
Couples suffering from severe hereditary disease, as well as couples undergoing IVF procedure, can now examine embryos prior to their implantation into the uterus. If a genetic defect is found in a fertilized egg, then such an egg will not be used for implantation. Accordingly, the child will be born without the same hereditary diseases as his parents.
In addition, in couples who can not conceive a child naturally, embryos can be chosen according to their expectancy of developing well. This is done in order to make pregnancy as complication-free as possible.
Heterologous insemination (sperm donation)
Sperm donation in Switzerland is allowed only if the woman is married and any other therapy is excluded by the doctors.
Nevertheless, heterologous insemination is allowed in neighboring Germany and France, where you can seek help through Airdoc if you do not fit the criteria of Swiss clinics. In some countries, lesbian women also have the right to use donor sperm, namely in Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States.
Donation of eggs and/or embryos
In Switzerland, the donation of eggs and embryos is completely prohibited. This applies to most of the EU countries as well, with the exception of France, Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
Cryopreservation is the storage of living biological objects at very low temperatures, with the possibility of restoring their biological functions after thawing. In Switzerland, gametes and fertilized egg cells (prior to nuclear fusion) can be stored for a maximum of 10 years. After this, the cells are destroyed. However, gametes and/or embryos can be stored in neighboring countries: Austria, Germany, and France.
Surrogate motherhood is prohibited in Switzerland. However, the surrogate mother is not punishable here – by law, she is the mother of the child which she gave birth to.
Surrogate motherhood is allowed in Russia, the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Israel, Ukraine, Australia, Canada, and other countries.