New French Law to Enable Lesbians, Single Women Access to In Vitro Fertilization

  • Law to enable lesbians as well as single women access to In Vitro fertilization.
  • Law likely to provoke an intense debate in France's parliament.
  • France LGBT groups are in full support of the law.
  • Many conservative religious and far-right activists are in strong opposition of the bioethics law.

France’s government under the stewardship of president Emmanuel Macron has drafted a law on bioethics. The law includes broadening the list of people who can have access to treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Single women of any sexual orientation will no longer have to travel abroad to have children. The proposed law if passed would give them access for the first time to assisted reproduction medical techniques.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process of fertilisation where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, in vitro (“in glass”). The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman’s ovulatory process, removing an ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory. After the fertilised egg (zygote) undergoes embryo culture for 2–6 days, it is implanted in the same or another woman’s uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.

The draft law includes expanding the list of people who can opt for treatments such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization commonly referred to as, IVF. Currently, France laws restrict assisted reproduction techniques to heterosexual couples with fertility problems.

The assisted reproduction law will undoubtedly provoke an intense debate in Parliament, where Macron’s centrist party has a majority. The bill comes five years after the mass protests against gay marriage in France, which was legalized and in the midst of a decline in Macron’s popularity due to the protests of the Yellow Vests opposed to the rising cost of living in France under Macron’s leadership.

Under the draft law, the French national health system would cover the cost of assisted reproduction for all women within an age limit that has not yet been set, for four rounds of pregnancy treatment. The text also allows anonymity of sperm donors to be lifted at the request of the children of those donors when they turn 18, instead of the strict anonymity that exists now. The law does not lift the prohibition of rent bellies.

LGBT rights in France have been seen as traditionally liberal. All sodomy laws were repealed in 1791 during the French Revolution. However, a lesser known indecent exposure law that often targeted homosexuals was introduced in 1960 before being repealed twenty years later.

The law would prevent babies and mothers from being left out of the France legal system and would give them access to the country’s generous health system.

The changes were a key claim of France LGBT groups following the legalization of gay marriage in 2013. “This is simply a measure of equality for France citizens, whatever their sexual orientation,” the Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and Future Parents said in a statement.

Although the France government said it was responding to changes in society, many conservative religious and far-right activists strongly oppose the bioethics law. Twenty conservative groups have already called a protest in October against the measure, which they say will create children without parents. They also fear that it will lead to the legalization of surrogacy.

Assisted reproduction for lesbian couples or single women or both is already legal in 18 of the 28 countries of the European Union if they can afford it. French women who can’t do it at home now tend to go to neighboring Spain or Belgium, where an IVF round costs several thousand euros.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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