Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) refers to examinations offered to couples trying to conceive that allow certain genetic disorders and chromosomal aberrations to be identified in an embryo created through in vitro fertilisation. In this procedure, the embryos are examined before they are transferred to the woman’s uterus. In contrast to prenatal diagnosis, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is carried out before pregnancy occurs, so it is not necessary to terminate a pregnancy if the results show that the embryo is carrying a genetic disorder.
The Reproductive Medicine Act (RMA) stipulates the legal conditions under which medically assisted reproduction may be used in humans. The Act protects human dignity, personality and the family, and prohibits misuses of biotechnology and gene technology. It establishes the wellbeing of the child as the overriding principle and forbids the storage of embryos, egg donation and genetic examination of the embryo in a test tube. The sperm donor’s data are kept at a federal office and are accessible to the child.
PGD was illegal in Switzerland from the date the Reproductive Medicine Act entered into force in 2001 until 31 August 2017.
In 2013, the Federal Council referred to Parliament a draft amending the constitutional provisions governing reproductive medicine and gene technology involving human beings (Art. 119 Cst.) and amending the Reproductive Medicine Act (RMA). The proposed legislative amendment declared PGD to be legal under certain circumstances. The draft amendment of the Article of the Constitution proposed that it should be possible to perform PGD if the framework conditions are promising.
Parliament concluded the consultation procedure for the drafts on 12 December 2014. The amendment of Art. 119 Cst. was adopted by the people and the cantons by a clear margin on 14 June 2015.
On 5 June 2016, the amendments to the RMA were also adopted by the people and the cantons by a clear margin. The implementing provisions of the RMA, the Reproductive Medicine Ordinance (RMO), were amended on this basis and sent to interested parties for optional consultation.
The revised Reproductive Medicine Act and the revised Reproductive Medicine Ordinance have been in force in Switzerland since 1 September 2017. This means that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) may be performed in Switzerland under certain conditions. Laboratories involved in reproductive medicine and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis are subject to stricter quality criteria than before.