The regulation of sperm donation
Sperm donation is regulated in Switzerland by the Federal law on Medically Assisted Reproduction (RS 810.11). Only married couples can benefit from this technique. The last revision was in 2017.
Since 2001, donor anonymity has been lifted, also retroactively. This means that people born as a result of a sperm donation can make a request to the centre that carried out the insemination and the centre is obliged to pass on their identity if they have it in their possession. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, and especially for people born before the 1990s, no documents with information about the donors can be found.
For people born after the implementation of this law, anyone can apply directly to the Federal Civil Registry Office to obtain the identity of the donor. All information is available on this link: Don de sperme (admin.ch)
In fact, immediately after the birth of a child conceived by donation, the medical specialists are obliged to transmit all information on the sperm donor to the Civil Status Office. On the other hand, it is clearly established in the law (art. 255 para. 1 of the Civil Code) that there can be no paternal filiation between the donor and the child.. The only paternity link recognised by law is that of the husband.
Selection criteria for donor selection
Currently, the donor is selected according to two criteria:
- Blood type
- A physical resemblance to the intended father
Number of children from the same donor
Nowadays, a maximum of 8 children is allowed per donor. Thanks to the end of anonymity this can be controlled, unlike in the early days when it was estimated that there could be dozens of children from the same donor.
Remuneration and other forms of donation
The law has always prohibited payment for sperm donation in the same way as for organ donation (art. 21 LPMA). The donor is nevertheless compensated for the costs and does not pay for any medical tests.
Egg donation, embryo donation and surrogacy are prohibited in Switzerland.
Changing attitudes and practice: From secrecy to transparency
The approach to artificial insemination with donor has completely changed from the early days. The mentality has evolved and the end of anonymity has definitely brought about transparency. A couple who uses this method nowadays will be given a psychological interview to discuss all aspects of the process. During this interview, the psychologist will strongly recommend that the parents explain the history of their conception to their future child from an early age. The child can grow up integrating this information and his or her questions will evolve over time. The spirit of openness in our society today and the hindsight that we now have on the process show us that the transparency approach is the healthiest for all parties concerned.
Links on the subject:
Some centres that perform AID in Switzerland:
- Lausanne: www.cpma.ch
- Lausanne: CHUV: Fertility Medicine and Gynaecological Endocrinology
- Bern: http://www.frauenheilkunde.insel.ch/
- Geneva: www.fertigeneve.ch