Parliament approves genetic profiling of embryos

An estimated 1,000 tests would be carried out in Switzerland every year Keystone

This content was published on November 25, 2014 - 10:55

Restrictions on embryo screenings in Switzerland are to be lifted as part of a reform of the law on reproductive medicine. Parliament gave the green light but voters will have the final say.

 The House of Representatives on Monday followed the Senate in restricting the number of embryos produced outside the womb to a maximum of 12. Initially the house refused to impose any limit.

The law also foresees allowing the screening of all in vitro fertilised embryos, despite opposition from the government, which wanted to limit the diagnostics to cases of serious risk of hereditary genetic diseases.

Another possibility opened up by the law is the usage of sperm after the death of the donor for a limited period of time.

An estimated 1,000 couples a year could benefit from the new law according to the interior ministry.

Strict Swiss law

Supporters have argued it made no sense for Switzerland to uphold stricter rules on reproductive medicine than other European countries.

However, the constitutional amendment faces opposition from groups for the disabled, the churches and women’s organisations, as well as some representatives from centre-right parties.

They say doctors must not be given the power over life and death of in vitro embryos.

Voters are likely to have the final say on the issue in a nationwide ballot next year. Opponents say they also consider challenging the amendment in a separate vote.

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