France's Parliament to debate IVF for single women, lesbian couples

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(PARIS) -- France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced to the National Assembly on Wednesday that by the end of September Parliament will be examining a bioethics bill that will include an extension of medically assisted reproduction — such as in-vitro fertilization — for all women, including those who are single and lesbian couples.

It had been one of President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promises, but was pushed aside due to a legislative traffic jam.

The prime minister said that the bill was ready, but the content of it was still to be made public.

Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet told French radio France Inter that the government was considering three options: "Either we extend the current legal regime to homosexual couples and single women or we create a special status for all children born from IVF with a third donor or we create a special status only for female couples and single women."

The third option has been decried by most LGBTQ organizations as it stigmatizes lesbian couples.

"This is an extremely delicate subject, because it also relates to concepts related to the protection of privacy," Belloubet added.

Another major point of debate will be the children's access to their origins. In April, 100 people who had been conceived through sperm donations called for an end to the anonymity of sperm donors.

Like its neighbors Germany, Italy, Malta, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, France authorizes in-vitro fertilization (IVF) but strictly for "stable heterosexual couples for whom a diagnosis of infertility has been made." Thousands of French women are thought to travel to Denmark or Belgium each year to undergo IVF.

Philippe said he was convinced "that we can reach a form of serene debate — profound, serious."

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