Following a Birth

Understand what to do following a birth, how to name a child, how to obtain a birth certificate and vaccinations for young children...

After the birth of your child, there are things that must be considered:

Naming a Child

Parents may choose any first name that they wish as long as is not likely to damage the interests of the child.


If the parents are married, the child will bear the parents' surname or the surname that the parents use. (In Switzerland, this is usually the father's as a couple may not have different names. Women may hyphenate their maiden name with their husband's while special authorisation is needed for the couple to only use the wife's name.)

If the parents are not married, the child will bear the name of the mother. If the child's parents then get married, the child will bear the name of the parents.

In the case of an adoption, the child will bear the surname of the adopting parents.

For more on naming a child visit the website

Obtaining a Birth Certificate

A copy of a birth certificate can be requested by fax, post or email (or in person) at the registry office in the place of birth.

Proof of identity or the family record book (Familienbuechlein/livret de famille) will need to be presented.

For more on obtaining a birth certificate visit the website

  • Geneva Civil Registrar's Office
    : 37 rue de la Mairie, 1211 Geneva
    Tel. +41 (0)22 418 66 50
    Fax +41 (0)22 418 66 51
    Open: Monday to Friday 08:30 to 11:45 and 13:00 to 16:00


Vaccination policy is decided at a cantonal level in Switzerland. Each individual canton determines which vaccinations are obligatory and some give them free of charge.

The only obligatory vaccination in Geneva is against Diphtheria (vaccine anti diphtérique) while in the cantons of Vaud, Neuchâtel and Valais there are no obligatory vaccinations.

However, most doctors do recommend the combined vaccinations for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Whooping cough (Keuchhusten/coqueluche) and Haemophilus influenza.

Further information

  • Information on Swiss citizenship from the Swiss government
  • Geneva Family Planning Centre 
    : 47 Boulevard de la Cluse, 1205 Geneva
    Tel: +41 (0)22 372 55 00
    Fax: +41 (0)22 372 53 15

The Association de parents de jumeaux, triplés et plus, an association for parents of multiple births (twins, triplets etc.) provides assistance for parents of premature children

The Swiss Association of Doula birth partners, Doula CH has information on the website in German (and some French). Help is available in English on request by email.

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