Written information for donors of surplus embryos

The use of surplus embryos for stem cell derivation projects is only permissible if the donating couple have been fully informed. Researchers must provide the following information to donors in writing.  

In the information sheet, researchers are required to provide the following information to the couple concerned:

• the nature, purpose and expected duration of the research
• Information concerning rights:

1. The couple's right to ask questions
2. The couple's right to an appropriate period for reflection
3. The couple's right to withhold consent without any statement of reasons
4. The couple's right to revoke their previously given consent at any time, without any statement of reasons, as long as the research project has not yet been initiated.
5. An assurance that in the event of refusing or revoking their consent, the couple will not suffer any disadvantages in their medical treatment.

• Information concerning data protection measures:

1. The IVF clinic must encrypt the couple’s data before the embryo is passed on to researchers
1. Data that permits identification of the couple may not be communcated to researchers
3. The IVF clinic must retain the couple’s data, the code key and the information sheet for 10 years

• Information concerning unpaid character of donation, rights and obligations of third parties:

1. The surplus embryos may not be disposed of or acquired in exchange for payment
2. It is possible for stem cells or products derived there from to be used in clinical practice, and the couple will not accrue any entitlements as a result
3. Researchers must pass on the stem cells for other research projects in Switzerland

Last modification 28.06.2018

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Division of Biomedicine
Human Research Section
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