Parenting

France legalises fertility treatments for lesbians and single women


Previously, medically assisted reproduction was reserved only for heterosexual couples (Picture: EPA)

France has passed a law allowing single women and lesbians to access fertility treatments for the first time in a major victory for LGBT campaigners.

Presented by President Emmanuel Macron’s government, the legislation was passed by the National Assembly yesterday by 326 votes to 115.

The wide-ranging bioethics law has been much awaited by LGBT rights groups, who had pushed for the reproduction measure since France legalised same-sex marriage in 2013.

Previously fertility treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) were reserved only for infertile heterosexual couples.

The procedures are free and the new law will expand this to both lesbians couples and single women.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said French authorities are getting ready to apply the new law as quickly as possible, so that the first children could be conceived by the end of the year.

An Institut français d’opinion publique (IFOP) poll showed two thirds of French people are in support of the new legislation.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said French authorities are getting ready to apply the new law as quickly as possible (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

The vote marks the end of a protracted, two-year debate on the issue in France’s parliament.

The conservative majority in the Senate repeatedly rejected the measure, but the lower house of parliament, where Macron’s centrist party has a majority, has the final say.

French LGBT rights groups lobbied for the measure after the country legalised same-sex marriage under then-president Francois Hollande, following months of mass protests by conservative and Catholic groups.

‘Finally’, Matthieu Gatipon, spokesperson of the Inter-LGBT association said, welcoming a ‘long-awaited progress’.

Expressing his frustration that it took so long to get to the final vote, he added: ‘We are satisfied that this is getting done… but this has been a painful birth.’

Mr Gatipon said it has been hard on French women who had to delay for years their plans to have a baby, and others who had to pay expensive fees to go abroad to countries where such procedures are available, such as Spain and Belgium.

The new law does not address France’s ban on surrogacy arrangements in which a woman carries and delivers a baby for someone else.

Among those welcoming the new law is journalist Armêl Balogog, who describes herself as bisexual and is in a relationship with a woman.

She tweeted: ‘Let me tell you how much it means for me to live in a country where I can legally have a child with the woman I love.’

Ms Balogog said she only regrets that transgender people were ‘forgotten’ by the legislation.

The law did not address calls for transgender women to be allowed to donate sperm to use in fertility procedures before undergoing gender reassignment.

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