Adoption is a legal act that establishes a legal relationship between two people ‒ the adopter and the adoptee ‒ similar to biological parentage. Both minors and adults aged over 18 can be adopted. Adoption can occur jointly within a married couple, or by a single person or the spouse/partner of the child's parent.

The adoption procedure is regulated by international, federal and cantonal laws, with conditions and recommendations outlined on the website of the Swiss Confederation and in articles 264 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code.

  2021 2022 2023
Total 553 529 424

By different-sex couples

467 442 355

By same-sex couples 1

86 87 69
1 Before 1 July 2022, only adoptions of the spouse's or partner's biological child are counted. From 1 July 2022, married same sex-couples may adopt children of third parties. Data on these adoptions is not yet available. Source: FSO - BEVNAT

The number of adoptions in Switzerland has been declining since 1980. This decline can be explained by changes to the law with regard to child protection, by a drop in unwanted pregnancies and by a better acceptance of single mothers in society. People are usually young when they are adopted.

Legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt their partner's child came into force on 1 January 2018. This amendment also relaxed conditions for adoption by registered partners and cohabiting couples, as well as adoption secrecy rules. Since 1 July 2022, same-sex couples can marry or convert their registered partnership into a marriage at a registry office, thereby extending their rights to third-party adoption.

Further information



Federal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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