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Switzerland's marriage equality law widens access to IVF

22 November 2021
Appeared in BioNews 1122

Same-sex couples in Switzerland will be able to marry from July 2022 and will have the same access to assisted reproduction as heterosexual couples. 

The new law follows the 2020 'Marriage for All' referendum where 64 percent of voters supported marriage equality. Civil partnerships between same-sex couples have been permitted in Switzerland since 2007, but the legal rights they provide are not equal to marriage.

'It is clearly discrimination based on sexual orientation,' said Maria von Kaenel, co-president of the Marriage For All campaign, regarding the previous laws. 'Everyone should be treated equally.'

The new law will also include provision for same-sex couples to adopt children and lesbian couples to access fertility treatments including donor sperm and IVF, both of which had been prohibited.

Much of the opposition to the change had focused on the impact of allowing same-sex couples to have children. Daniel Frischknecht, president of an opposition party, claimed 'that for children to grow up in the best possible way, they need a father and a mother.'

Swiss LGBTQ+ organisations estimate that up to 30,000 children are currently being raised by same-sex couples in Switzerland, but prospective parents had been forced to go abroad to receive fertility treatments.

Surrogacy and egg donation remain illegal in Switzerland, so families who need these services to have children – including male same-sex couples – will still have to look for treatment abroad.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Swiss government: Same-sex couples can marry starting July 1
Independent |  17 November 2021
Swiss to allow same-sex weddings from July 2022
Reuters |  17 November 2021
Switzerland announces date first same-sex couples will be able to marry after landmark referendum
Pink News |  17 November 2021
Switzerland to implement same-sex marriage in July 2022
Politico |  17 November 2021
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