Switzerland / in-vitro screening for Down syndrome: the “risk of eugenic spin-offs” revisited

Publié le 8 Sep, 2014

In March, in Switzerland, the examination of a draft law triggered a debate on genetic testing within the scope of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). The main purpose of this bill was to authorise pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) (Gènéthique press reviews on March 11th, 2014). 


Following an initial day of debate, the State Council (i.e. the Senate – the Upper House of the Swiss Parliament) adopted the draft law which precluded in-vitro screening for Down syndrome given the risk of eugenic spin-offs, and the manufacture of “designer babies“. Continuing the debate, the project was then presented to the Lower House of Parliament, namely the National Council. In early June, the National Council approved PGD for couples at risk of transmitting a serious disease to their child and, contrary to the State Council, was also in favour of in-vitro screening for Down syndrome. The draft bill therefore had to be represented to the State Council (Gènéthique press reviews on June 4th, 2014).


The State Council gave its decision yesterday: by 27 votes to 18, the Senate agreed with the National Council decision and authorised pre-implantation screening for Down syndrome. 

Swissinfo.ch 08/09/2014

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