Following the National Council, the Council of States approved a parliamentary motion in September 2022 to allow egg donation. This will remove a major obstacle for infertile couples in Switzerland to fulfil their desire to have a child. But until the law is implemented, fertility medicine in Switzerland will have to limit itself to artificial insemination of the woman’s own egg.
Infertility is a growing problem in most Western countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines infertility as the failure to become pregnant after regular sex over a period of 12 months or longer. In Switzerland, this affects an estimated one in seven couples. According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 6,000 women undergo fertility treatment each year in Switzerland, of which one in three is successful. Fertility therapy is not covered by basic health insurance.
There are various reasons for the rising trend in infertility. On the one hand, studies show that the sperm quality of young men has strongly decreased. It is assumed that environmental influences are the cause of this. On the other hand, social change is also leading to increased infertility. Couples are deciding to start a family later in life. This has a major impact on fertility. While the probability of pregnancy within one monthly cycle is 20 percent for a healthy 30-year-old woman, it drops to only 5 percent for a 40-year-old woman.
Modern reproductive medicine offers a remedy here. The freezing of egg cells at a younger age enables artificial insemination and implantation of the woman’s own egg cell at a more advanced age, giving women some flexibility in planning their family and career. This procedure is becoming increasingly accepted in Switzerland. In general, fertility medicine has made great progress, especially in the design of therapy, which is now better suited to the realities of women’s lives. Life Science Communication has been working for years with the pharmaceutical company Ferring ((LINK: https://www.ferring.com/)), which aims to support families of all shapes and types.